Florida Students Say Teacher Called ‘Hero’ Was Really a ‘Coward’ Who Left Them to Die

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
March 5, 2018US News
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Florida Students Say Teacher Called ‘Hero’ Was Really a ‘Coward’ Who Left Them to Die
People are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Students from the Florida school that was the site of a shooting in February said that a teacher who some have called a “hero” was really a “coward” who locked students out of his classroom.

Math teacher Jim Gard was one of several teachers who was credited with saving lives after Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14.

Gard told NBC that he and his students left the classroom to evacuate after the fire alarm went off that day.

However, a short time later a “code red” started blaring. Gard said most students had fled but he ushered the six who hadn’t back into the classroom and into a closet and hid with them until a SWAT team arrived.

But some students are now saying Gard lied and actually locked his classroom door and refused to let some students inside.

Josh Gallagher said on Twitter that Gard “calls himself a hero, and how the media portrayed him as hero when in reality he is the opposite.”

Gallagher said he was in Gard’s class when the fire alarm went off and students filed outside.

When they heard gunshots, though, about 15 of them raced back to the classroom to hide.

However, Gard had locked the door and refused to let them in, Gallagher said.

“We were stuck in the hall for four total minutes, ducking and in fear for our lives” until a teacher Gallagher didn’t know let them in another classroom, Josh said. He said Gard “left 75 percent of his students out in the hallway to be slaughtered.”

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

A second student backed up the claims. Connor Dietrich said he was also locked out of Gard’s classroom.

“As one of the kids left in the hallway I want people to understand how terrifying and defenseless I personally felt,” Connor tweeted. “The person I had to rely on left us to die and that’s not okay.”

Gard hit back against the allegations, telling the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he looked into the hallway before locking the door and didn’t see anyone.


“I looked back down the hall and no one was around — no one,” he said.

“You have to close the door. That’s protocol. We have no choice.”

Gard said he heard banging after he and six students hid in the closet but he couldn’t respond because protocol prohibits from opening a door during an active shooter situation.

“Fast forward to Sunday, when the parents came back for an open house,” Gard said. “All of a sudden this kid comes over and starts screaming at me. Then his father started screaming at me. This is insane.”

 

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