A quick-acting Indian-American maths teacher is being hailed for saving the lives of her students during the shooting rampage at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.
When an alarm sounded for the second time on Wednesday afternoon, Shanthi Viswanathan shut the doors to her algebra classroom, made the students crouch on the floor and covered the windows, keeping them out of the reach and sight of the gunman, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
“She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Dawn Jarboe, the mother of one of Viswanathan’s students, told the newspaper.
When an elite police contingent known as a SWAT team came and knocked on the door asking her to open it, “Viswanathan took no chance that it wasn’t a trick by the gunman to get in” the newspaper said.
“She said, ‘knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door,'” Jarboe quoted her as telling the police.
“Some SWAT guy took out the window and cleared our room,” Jarboe’s son, Brian, texted his mother, the newspaper said.
A former student of the school, Nikolas Cruz, barged into Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Valentine’s Day and killed 15 students and two staff members with an AR-15 automatic rifle.
In the entire Broward County, where Parkland is located, the Indian population is 22,600, according to statisticalatlas.com. But none of those killed are of Indian descent.