Two teachers were killed in the attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in Texas. One of them shared his story in an emotional interview.
Arnulfo Redes spoke to ABC’s Amy Robach during a segment that was broadcast on “Good Morning America”All 11 fourth graders in his class were also killed. Two other teachers and eight children in an adjoining classroom were also killed in the May 24 shooting, the deadliest school shooting since 2012’s Sandy Hook massacre.
Students were present at a ceremony to end the year earlier in the day. While some students returned home shortly after, others remained at school. Those in Reyes’s class who did were watching a movie when they began to hear gunshots.
Reyes was asked what was going on by the children.
“And I said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on, but let’s go ahead and get under the table. Get under the table and act like you’re asleep,’”Reyes said “Good Morning America.”
“As they were doing that, and I was gathering them under the table and told them to act like they’re going to sleep, is about the time when I turned around and saw him standing there,” he said.
Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire, shooting Reyes twice. One bullet struck his arm and lung, while the other struck his back. Ramos then turned his attention to the children, Reyes said, noting he was unable to move.
Reyes said he cannot forgive law enforcement for not stopping Ramos sooner. Ramos was in the school for more than an hour before he was shot and killed by a Border Patrol tactical response team, authorities said.
“After everything, I get more angry because [police] have a bullet proof vest. I had nothing. You are supposed to protect and serve; there is no excuse for their actions and I will never forgive them,” he said from his bed at a hospital, where he’s already undergone several surgeries.
Seven of the 17 years Reyes has been a teacher have been spent in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. No training could have prepared him for what he and his students encountered last month, he said.
“It happened all too quickly. Training, no training, all kinds of training—nothing gets you ready for this,” he said. “Our children were taught to sit down under the table. That’s what I thought at the time. But, we made them duck-like. … We can have all the training we want but laws must change.” he continued. “They have to change the laws or it won’t change.”
Reyes wept for his parents and apologized to them. “I tried my best from what I was told to do. Please don’t be angry with me.”
Reyes and other teachers have tried their best to be prepared for the worst.
They turn to the internet to get advice from other teachers to help them keep their students safe at school in the unlikely event.
Kelsey Vidal, a first-grade teacher in Pittsburg, California has what she calls an active shooter backpack. Vidal said that the bag can be transformed into a bulletproof vest. She also has a barracuda block to block doors and provide medical supplies for her classroom.
“The backpack, I would use to put on myself,”Inside Edition heard her explain that she could be a shield for her students. “If anything happened … I would be placed in harm’s way … the children could run away, and I would be just protecting them.”
Videos of her preparations went viral quickly and she began posting them online. Teachers all over the world were shocked to see what the American educator decided needed to be done in order to remain safe.
“From the UK, Canada and Switzerland, and they are just shocked that this is what we have to do to stay safe in the classroom,”She said.
“Our goal is to teach students, not to go to war.”