Melissa Falkowski, Hero teacher hid 19 students in classroom closet from ‘crazed’ gunman who stalked Florida high school killing 17.
As more stories come out about the events that look place in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday afternoon, the bravery and sacrifice of the teachers and and staff members in the school are becoming more clear.
While a former student rampaged through the school with an assault rifle on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 14, one teacher explained that she was able to hide 19 students in a closet while the danger passed. Melissa Falkowski described the events to a reporter on CNN.
“It was the end of the school day, and the fire alarm went off, and we went to evacuate as if there was a fire drill,” Falkowski recalled. “Then we got maybe 15, 20 steps outside of the classroom, and we were told we were on [indiscernible] and we ran back inside to the classroom, and crouched down on the floor, and then we moved into the closet, and we were hidden in the closet.”
“How many students did you have to take back to the classroom and put in the closet?” the reporter asked her.
“I managed to put 19 kids in the closet with me,” Falkowski said. I just know this is, like, the worst nightmare scenario that you hope never happens to you. And all these — you know, I was listening in early to some of the commentators, and it really speaks to those of that work in schools, and work with children, and, you know, our society’s inability to address this problem is just totally unacceptable… society failed those people today.”
The shooting took place in Parkland, Florida, a town just recently named one of the safest cities in the country, according to The Miami Herald.
Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student, entered the school in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High JROTC shirt. Witnesses say he pulled the fire alarm to draw his former classmates and teachers out into the hallway before opening fire with an AR-15 assault rifle. Authorities said he was carrying several magazines for the weapon.
The shooting left 17 dead and 15 others injured. Cruz was captured less than two hours later in a residence near the school. Law enforcement officials believe he was able to escape the campus because he blended in with the rest of the student body.
Cruz remains in custody. There’s no word yet as to what charges will be levelled against him. Typically, the perpetrators of mass shootings don’t survive their attacks, making this a rare case among the growing trend in the U.S.