A teacher at Robb Elementary School in Texas has described the terrifying 35 minutes she spent huddled on the floor with her class when a gunman opened fire down the corridor.
At least 19 children, the youngest of whom was just eight years old, and two teachers were killed when a gunman broke into the school in Uvalde on Tuesday.
The massacre is America’s deadliest shooting since the Sandy Hook mass shooting in 2012 and the 212th this year.
The teacher, whose name was not released, said she was watching a Disney film with her class when she heard gunshots in the hallway.
She said she knew immediately what the terrifying noise was and shouted at her class to take cover under their desks while she sprinted to lock the door.
The teacher said because schoolchildren regularly do “active marksman drills” similar to fire alarm drills, the youngsters know exactly what to do.
“You’ve been practicing for this day for years,” the teacher told NBC.
“They knew this wasn’t an exercise. We knew we had to be quiet or we would give ourselves away.”
The teacher said that as her class huddled under their desks, she sat on the floor in the middle of the room.
She said what followed was the “longest 35 minutes of my life.”
The teacher said it was incredibly hard to focus on keeping everyone calm and still while they could hear the gunman’s attack.
She said she brought children who started crying to her so she could comfort them.
Police officers eventually got into the classroom by smashing one of the room’s windows.
The teacher said she asked her students to line up before helping each of them out the broken window.
“After the last kid, I turned to make sure everyone was out,” the teacher told NBC.
“I knew I had to go fast, but I wouldn’t go until I knew for sure.”
She said after the class was all safely removed from the school, she met with them at a center across town, where she tried to comfort those who were worried about their friends and family.
“Our children don’t deserve this,” she said.
“You were loved. Not just from their families, but from their family at school.”
Officials have named the gunman responsible for Tuesday’s tragedy as Salvador Ramos, 18.
The teenager entered the school armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and holed himself up in a classroom before being shot dead by a border guard.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/27/texas-teacher-tried-to-keep-class-calm-during-school-mass-shooting-16723588/ Texas: The teacher tried to keep the class quiet during the school mass shooting