El Paso, TX – A high school social studies teacher armed with a yardstick hugged a frightened student and vowed he would “take a bullet” for her and her classmates after the school went into lockdown on Thursday morning (video below).
Police and school officials placed El Paso High School on lockdown that morning after they received reports that three armed subjects were inside the building, KFOX reported.
Student Nicole Garate said she and her peers initially thought that the incident was an active shooter drill.
“We thought it was a drill until we heard the cops coming, the sirens, and we started hearing the helicopters going around school,” Garate told KFOX.
Social studies teacher Russell Lang grabbed a yardstick and positioned himself by the doorway to the classroom as the frightened students sought cover.
“We just hid and were doing whatever Mr. Lang told us to do,” Garate recalled.
“He was just standing at the door with the ruler,” she said. “We were like, ‘We don’t think that’s safe,’ but he told us he was going to do what he could to keep us safe.”
That’s when the frightened teen asked her teacher for a hug.
“She asked from across the room if she could have a hug and I said, ‘Of course you can,’” Lang told KFOX.
A video clip of Lang comforting Garate has gone viral.
“I’d take a bullet for you guys,” the teacher told her and her classmates. “You guys have lives to live.”
Lang said he was also frightened about the possibility of gunmen being inside the school, but that protecting his students was his top priority.
“We started talking about what was happening and that’s when kids started to emote more,” Lang told KVIA. “Certain kids were saying ‘hey, thank you for standing by the door,’ and I didn’t know that was something special but apparently it was to them and I’m glad that I was able to make them feel safer.”
El Paso police located three suspects during a room-by-room search and recovered a BB gun, KVIA reported.
They were detained, but it is unclear whether or not any of them are facing charges.
Lang, a graduate of El Paso High School, said that he doesn’t believe he did anything remarkable during the frightening incident.
“I’m not any sort of hero or anything like that,” he told KFOX. “I was just trying to make a kid feel more secure and other teachers did the same.”
“I believe that most teachers have a desire to protect and to nurture,” Lang continued, according to KVIA. “We’ve had situations where we had to go on lockout before and we’ve done lockdown drills before so I just did my job which was to ensure the safety of my 30 kids.”
Lang said that one of the main reasons he became a teacher was because of all of the educators who helped him when he was a kid.
“Thinking about how to best serve our kids has not just become teaching but protecting,” he told KFOX.
You can watch cell phone footage of Lang comforting Garate and reassuring his students in the video below: