A student at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School has publicly criticized a teacher, accusing him of locking students out of a classroom while Nikolas Cruz was on a shooting rampage at the school last month.
The Sun Sentinel reports that Josh Gallagher, a junior at the Parkland, Florida, high school, posted a note on Twitter claiming that math teacher Jim Gard put students at risk when he locked a classroom door following what the students initially believed was a fire drill. As Gard told the Miami Herald last month, the class began to walk out when the fire alarm sounded, but once some students realized what was happening the came back to the classroom.
“Six kids ran back into my room, and I locked the door, turned out the lights and had the kids go to the back of the room,” Jim Gard told the newspaper. “I told the kids to hang in there, it may still be a drill.”
Gallagher said on Twitter that he and several other students tried to get back into the classroom but were locked at as Cruz was pacing the halls, shooting at students and teachers.
Im a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. Please read my story below as I present the truth about a teacher Mr. Gard (Jim Gard) who calls himself a hero, and how the media portrayed him as hero when in reality he is the opposite. pic.twitter.com/MH70M6Sqhe
— Josh Gallagher (@JoshBGallagher) March 1, 2018
“We were stuck in the hall for four total minutes ducking and in fear for our lives,” Gallagher wrote.
“He left 75% of his students out in the hallway to be slaughtered. How can a man such as him be viewed as a hero in the media?”
Gard is mentioned in a New York Magazine story “These are the heroes of the Florida school shooting” and has given multiple media interviews about the tragedy. Gallagher claims that Gard called a news station from his classroom during the massacre while students were locked outside.
The teacher told the Sun Sentinel that he was shocked to discover that Gallagher, whose father is a member of the Coral Springs Police Department and responded to the shooting, was accusing him of any wrongdoing. He said that when he closed and locked his classroom door, he didn’t see anyone in the hall.
“I looked back down the hall and no one was around — no one,” said Gard. “You have to close the door. That’s protocol. We have no choice.”
According to the Sun Sentinel report, “It’s established policy for teachers to keep the door locked during shootings.”
Gallagher said in a note to the newspaper that he and his family did not want to be interviewed.
“I’m not going to sensationalize this even [sic] like my teacher did,” Gallagher reportedly wrote.
“I want change to happen when it comes to protocol and the way this situation is handled. No child can feel the way I did.”
[Feature image: Associated Press]