A teacher has revealed how she disarmed a sixth-grade school shooter who injured three people.
Krista Gneiting, a math teacher at Rigby Middle School in Idaho, was preparing students for their final exams on the morning of May 6. However, the day took a dark turn when gunshots could be heard from outside the classroom.
A girl in the sixth-grade had packed a gun in her backpack and began shooting students and staff. The student shot two people in the hallway of the school and another outside. At this point, Gneiting bravely intervened.
Speaking to ABC News, the teacher explained her initial reaction after hearing the shots:
I just told my students, ‘We are going to leave, we’re going to run to the high school, you’re going to run hard, you’re not going to look back and now is the time to get up and go.’
Gneiting then went to the hallway to help one of the students who had been shot. When she did this, she found the sixth-grader who had shot her peers. At this important juncture, the teacher intervened and disarmed the pupil.
The teacher explained that she was initially confused, explaining, ‘It was a little girl and my brain couldn’t quite grasp that. I just knew when I saw that gun, I had to get the gun.’ The teacher calmly did this by slowly approaching the student and asking, ‘Are you the shooter?’
I just walked up to her and I put my hand over her hand, I just slowly pulled the gun out of her hand and she allowed me to. She didn’t give it to me but she didn’t fight.
And then after I got the gun, I just pulled her into a hug because I thought, this little girl has a mom somewhere that doesn’t realise she’s having a breakdown and she’s hurting people.
After obtaining the gun, the teacher continued to hold the girl. The girl then began to talk to her and made it clear that she was ‘very unhappy’. The teacher reflected that she felt her actions calmed the student down, and many would agree that disarming the student may have saved lives.
Eventually, the authorities responded to the situation and arrested the student. The girl has been charged and remains in custody. It is unclear what the charges are, but Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Taylor has previously told reporters the girl could face three counts of attempted murder.
Fortunately, the three people who were shot are all expected to survive. However, many will ask questions about how the student managed to get the gun, and will reignite the long-running debate over the need for stricter gun controls.
Looking forward, Gneiting hopes that the student could one day return to society:
She is just barely starting in life and she just needs some help. Everybody makes mistakes. I think we need to make sure we get her help and get her back into where she loves herself so that she can function in society.
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