Teacher Left Us Stranded in Hall During Shooting: Student

Jim Gard says he was just following protocol
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2018 3:01 AM CST
Updated Mar 5, 2018 6:17 AM CST
Student: 'Coward' Parkland Teacher Left Students in Hall
In this Feb. 14, 2018 file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus.   (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., one of the teachers who came forward to tell his story was Jim Gard. He was painted as a bit of a hero in the media for protecting students in his classroom, but now two students have come forward to accuse him of cowardice. Joshua Gallagher, a junior at the school who was in Gard's math class when an apparent fire drill sent everyone outside, says that after shots were fired and students tried to return to the classroom, they found the door locked and 16 of them were stuck in the hallway for four minutes after Gard wouldn't let them back in. "He left 75% of his students out in the hallway to be slaughtered," Gallagher says, calling Gard "selfish" and a "coward." Eventually another teacher let them inside; all of the students from Gard's class survived. The teacher has now responded defending himself.

Gard tells the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that not all his students got back to the classroom in time. "I looked back down the hall and no one was around—no one," he says. "You have to close the door. That’s protocol. We have no choice." He adds that he only heard banging on the door once and "by the time I walked over to the door, the banging had stopped. I didn’t hear any yelling. If there were 13 kids outside the door screaming and banging I would have heard them." He calls Gallagher's accusations "insane," but another classmate has since chimed in to agree with Gallagher. "As one of the kids left in the hallway I want people to understand how terrifying and defenseless I personally felt. The person I had to rely on left us to die and that’s not okay," Connor Dietrich tweeted. USA Today notes Gard gave an interview within two hours of the shooting, while still sheltering in his classroom with students. (Read more Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School stories.)

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