Indian-Origin Teacher Saves Many Students’ Lives During Florida High School Shooting

Shanthi Vishwanathan, a math teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, reacted swiftly while the shooter went on a killing spree in the premises.


An Indian-origin teacher is being seen as a hero for saving the lives of her students during the recent shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Mathematics teacher Shanthi Vishwanathan’s presence of mind saved students in her classroom from the shooting spree that left 17 people dead when a 19-year-old ex-student of the high school went on a rampage on Feb.14.

Vishwanathan, popularly called Mrs V in the school, sensed that something was not right after the shooter set off the second fire alarm, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Instead of letting the children out, she asked her students in her algebra classroom to crouch on the floor in one corner of the room, shut the doors, and covered the windows with paper, blocking the view of the classroom.

Dawn Jarboe, whose son Brian was in Vishwanathan’s class, said that her actions saved the students from being the target of the gunman’s bullets. “She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Jarboe said.

Vishwanathan was so cautious that even when the SWAT team and the police came and asked her to open the doors so they could get in, she refused. She suspected that the gunman was trying to trick her into opening the door and asked them to either knock the door down or open it with a key.

“Some SWAT guy took out the window and cleared our room,” Brian texted his mother, the report added.

Viswanathan has been rated well on the Rate My Teachers website over the years, with many giving her four or five stars. A student who commented on the website about Viswanathan said that she is a wonderful teacher, allowing the students to expand their learning platform. “She taught me with an appreciation of math in the real world. She cares about students and often stays after school to help her students with review sessions,” the student wrote, reported.

On Feb. 16, U.S. President Donald Trump met the injured victims of the shooting at a Florida hospital where they are recuperating. At a candlelight vigil held near the school for the victims on Feb.15, many chanted “No More Guns.”

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