- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 4, 2018

At least two of the survivors of the Florida high-school shooting are calling their teacher a coward — apparently for following the protocols in a live-gunman situation.

Students Josh Gallagher and Connor Dietrich have said math teacher Jim Gard, widely hailed in local media as a hero, put them in jeopardy during the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland by locking them out of their classroom.

The gunman had triggered a fire drill before starting his rampage to ensure as many targets and as much chaos as possible once he started firing. According to witness accounts, only about six of Mr. Gard’s 25 students followed him back into the classroom, as the rules require, when the fire drill became a code-red emergency.

Mr. Gallagher was among that majority.

“We were stuck in the hall for four total minutes, ducking and in fear for our lives” Mr. Gallagher said on Twitter, accusing the math teacher of having “left 75% of his students out in the hallway to be slaughtered.”

Classmate Connor Dietrich agreed, replying to Mr. Gallagher on Twitter that “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.”

Mr. Gallagher also criticized the laudatory treatment Mr. Gard had received in local media, including an interview with TV station WFOR, the Miami CBS affiliate, while still in his locked classroom.

“He is nothing but a coward,” Mr. Gallagher said. “He has revictimized the students he left out of his class by calling himself a hero.”

A nonplussed Mr. Gard told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he only heard one loud bang-bang and could not risk opening the door on that basis.

“I told the kids we can’t let anyone in,” he said. “We had no idea if it was a drill or not. 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.”

According to the Sun-Sentinel, numerous teachers “well-versed on procedure” said teachers must keep doors locked during a shooting.

“I looked back down the hall and no one was around — no one,” Mr. Gard said. “You have to close the door. That’s protocol. We have no choice.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Gallagher and his father, the teacher said, used an open house several says later to berate him

“All of a sudden this kid comes over and starts screaming at me. Then his father started screaming at me. This is insane,” Mr. Gard said.


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