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, Ms. Shanthi Viswanathan shut the doors to her algebra classroom, and instead of letting her students out, Shanti put up a paper on the windows in the class to conceal the presence of students in the classroom, saving the lives of many in one of the worst campus shootings in the United States.
“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. 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”. Shanthi refused to open the doors even after the SWAT team arrived, taking no chance of risking her student’s lives. “Knock it down or open it with a key. I am not opening the door,” Jarboe quoted her as telling the police. The SWAT team then had to break the windows to get in and clear the situation.
The shooter abandoned his gun and during the ensuing chaos mixed in with the students to escape. He was captured about 40 minutes later in a neighboring town.