How This High School Math Teacher Saved Dozens of Lives

School shootings: they’re every parent’s worst nightmare and the cause of much political debate in our country. It’s clearly a topic that doesn’t garner any “warm and fuzzy” feelings, but today’s story does teach us that awareness and swift action can help save lives in even the deadliest of scenarios.

On Wednesday, September 20, 911 dispatchers began to receive calls from concerned students and faculty in response to an active shooter at Mattoon High School in Central Illinois.

Around lunchtime, an unnamed male student walked into the crowded cafeteria and reportedly started taking shots at random, hitting one teen in the hand and chest, with another bullet grazing a student’s knuckles.

Nevertheless, before any further tragedy or destruction could take place, teacher Angela McQueen grabbed the suspect by the arm, tackled him, and even managed to subdue him.

It was an act that many are calling “heroic,” but people closest to her are also crediting her participation in a recent active shooter protection class, a choice that gave her the know-how needed to take control of the dicey situation.

The shooter has since been charged with aggravated battery with a firearm. At this time, the media is not revealing his identity because he is a minor, but we do know that he is a boy who was carrying a semi-automatic handgun. The victims are doing well and are expected to make full recoveries.

Since the shooting, students and community members alike have taken to Mattoon’s Facebook page to voice their comfort for one another during this shocking time. There have been prayer circles, on-site therapy animals, and even shout-outs from rival schools voicing their support.

A teacher’s heroic act is celebrated

Although the intrepid McQueen may be camera-shy, her mother, Barbara, is happy to speak on her behalf. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Barbara explains how her daughter mustered up the courage to put up a fight against this gunman.

“When she saw the situation and, you know— ‘OK this kid’s going to kill somebody, if I don’t do something’—she just took action,” the proud mom says. “She just reacted instinctively.”

McQueen has been teaching at Mattoon High School for 17 years in the both the Math and Physical Education departments. As mentioned, she, along with her teaching peers, recently underwent training to protect both her and her students from potential active shooters, though no details on the exact program or her participation have been released.

With that said, clearly McQueen had the perfect mix of nerve and strength to subdue this teenager before he could have a chance to injure, or worse, kill, anyone else.

To hear more details on how this courageous teacher protected her students, be sure to watch CBS 4 Miami’s video below. Thank goodness she took a stand!

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this story. Have you or someone you know been present during an active shooter situation? If so, what was your experience? Have you ever received training similar to that of McQueen’s?