Several teachers were hailed as heroes for what they did during the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. One called a hero was math teacher Jim Gard who said he helped students to safety, hiding them in his classroom. He even was written up with one headline, “Teacher protected students during Florida school shooting.”
But now one of the students in his class, Joshua Gallagher, is disputing this account and calling him a coward.
In a long social media post, Gallagher said he and other members left the class when the fire alarm went off, but then heard the shots being fired and tried to run back to the classroom. But when they got back to the classroom the door was locked and they couldn’t get back in.
From Inside Edition:
“Hours and days after the shooting I came to found out [sic] my Math teacher Jim Gard actually ran back into the classroom without turning around and locked his door,” he wrote on Twitter. “He left 75% of his students out in the hallway to be slaughtered. How can a man such as him be viewed as a hero in the media?”
He branded Gard an “opportunist” who called news stations during the attack to detail what was happening, rather than “attempting or even thinking to save kids he left in the hall!”
“He is nothing but a coward,” Gallagher added. “He has re-victimized the students he left out of his class by calling himself a hero.”
Gallagher said he was left outside for four minutes ducking and hiding with some of the other students before another teacher opened a door and brought them into her classroom.
Gard says that he yelled to all the students to get back to the classroom, but only six came back. He said he looked in the hall but didn’t see the other students so he closed the door and turned the lights out.
Gard said at one point he heard banging on the door but the protocol is not to open the door.
Security expert Steve Kardian told Inside Edition that he believes the teacher acted properly. He said that the policy at most schools is to keep the door locked during a shooting.
“Once it’s closed, once you’re sheltered, you don’t go near the door. You don’t open the door,” he said. “It’s a hard decision for a teacher to make, to not open that door, but the rule is, shut the door, leave it shut until the authorities come and you open it.”
Indeed, another teacher told NBC News that it was school policy to keep the door shut. She said she went against this to pull students inside.
It’s not clear why he didn’t see them in the hall and may be that’s a problem in process or a problem with Gard.
Some like teacher Scott Beigel held the door open for a student and lost his life in the process, but saved students in so doing.
But it’s an incredibly challenging call. Because you may not know who the banging at the door is, or if you see a student through the door, if the killer may not be right behind him, exposing the other students you are trying to protect if you open the door.
[Note: This post was written by Nick Arama]