By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
There continues to be an increase in violent shootings taking place in the nation’s school systems, and with the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook, it’s no surprise many schools across the country have beefed up security to keep their students safe and parents more convinced their children won’t become victims in another senseless tragedy. However, Sandy Hook isn’t the only school with heroes for staff members, as a black woman who works as the book-keeper for the elementary school in Decatur, Georgia is making national news for being brave enough to prevent a school shooting from going forward at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy. On Tuesday, a man opened fire with an AK-47 type gun and other weapons at the elementary school but no one was injured thanks to Antoinette Tuff, the book-keeper who works at front office of the elementary school.
According to reports, the gunman Michael Brandon Hill came into the school’s front office and shot at the ground. He then barricaded himself in the office with employees and that’s when Antoinette Tuff began talking to him, using her words to talk him out of hurting anyone. Tuff even convinced him to just give up the attack on the school. She called 911, while simultaneously assuring the gunman that everything would be ok. As the dispatcher stayed on the line, Tuff was heard telling the gunman:
“It’s going to be all right sweetie. I just want you to know that I love you though, OK? And I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it. We all go through something in life.
“They’re coming so just hold on Michael. Go ahead and lay down. Go ahead and lay down.”
She also served as Hill’s go-between person and relayed his demands to the police, telling them not to make any movements and to stop using their radios, warning them that failure to heed those demands would lead to the gunman shooting.
Although she acted calm the entire time, Tuff later told the dispatcher she was terrified:
“Let me tell you something, babe. I’ve never been so scared in all the days of my life. Oh, Jesus.”
Tuff actually had the courage to treat the gunman like a human being and told him about the time she almost killed herself because she was stressed from the end of her marriage. He then admitted to her that he had mental issues and had not taken his meds. She assured him turning himself over to the police peacefully would be the best thing to do and even told him she loved him.
She didn’t stop there, as she then offered to walk out with the gunman as he turned himself over to police. In the end, Michael Brandon Hill peacefully turned himself over as Tuff told him that she was proud of him.
Tuff’s handling of the situation has been getting praise all over the nation and even President Obama called her to thank her for her courage. It is also being reported that Tuff was so strong when she needed to be because the staff was trained how to handle scary situations like dealing with trespassers. We’re thinking it’s time for all schools to receive the same training.
Check out her interview about getting a phone call from President Obama via Anderson Cooper 360 below: