Shanthi Viswanathan is an Indian-American math teacher whose quick thinking helped save the lives of her students during the horrific shooting Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
Viswanathan, known as “Mrs. V” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, has earned praise from her students and their parents for her heroism.
Viswanathan was teaching Algebra II when the second fire alarm went off that day, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Instead of sending her students into the hallway for a supposed drill, she ordered them to stay on the floor in a corner of her classroom. She then put paper over the door’s window so no one could see inside.
Outside, Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the school, barged into the high school in Parkland and began firing at people inside the campus.
Dawn Jarboe, a parent of one of her students narrated how Viswanathan kept her classroom safe from the attack, which led to the death of 15 students and two staff members, and 15 other injuries.
“She was quick on her feet. She used her knowledge. She saved a lot of kids,” Jarboe was quoted as saying.
Even when the SWAT team arrived to clear the room, Viswanathan remained protective of her pupils.
“She said, ‘Knock it down or open it with a key. I’m not opening the door,'” Jarboe said.
Mrs. V’s heroism is among numerous stories of courage during the tragic shooting, including others who died trying to protect students.
Peter Wang, a 15-year-old student and ROTC cadet, died while holding the doors for students escaping so that they could flee to safety.
Feature Image via Broward Schools