Courageous Teacher Confronted Teen Shooter At Taft High School Shooting So 28 Students Could Escape
I’m of the mindset that the word “brave” gets thrown around entirely too much in our culture. As someone who routinely goes through “post-baby body” photos and has to read about celebrities without makeup, I come across “brave” more times in the parenting world than I think suits the context. Brave is saving someone from a burning building, securing the safety of friends in an emergency, or in the case of the Taft high school shooting in California, confronting the shooter to save kids.
Associated Press reports that science teacher Ryan Herber is a hero of epic proportions. When shots rang out during his first-period class, he tried to “coax” the 16-year-old shooter to give up his gun. Herber is reportedly well-liked among the student body and “popular,” so the shooter told Heber that he didn’t want to shoot him. Their interaction proved to benefit many:
Recounting the suspect’s words, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said the confrontation was enough of a distraction to give 28 students time to escape their classroom Thursday at a California high school.
Along with campus supervisor, Kim Lee Fields, Herber eventually got the shooter to hand over his shotgun. His pockets were reportedly filled with more ammunition:
“This teacher and this counselor stood there face-to-face not knowing if he was going to shoot them,” Youngblood said. “They probably expected the worst and hoped for the best, but they gave the students a chance to escape.”
Heber, a graduate of this same high school school two decades before, was injured when his forehead was “grazed” by a stray pellet. Unaware that he had been hit, Herber continued to protect his students and even gambled with his own life to ensure their safety. Herber and Fields are the very definition of bravery. Going fresh-faced in front of cameras? Baring postpartum bellies? No contest.