Teacher Hailed as Hero for Calming Down Allegedly Armed Teen Who Took Classmates Hostage at West Virginia High School

No one was hurt after the 14-year-old boy took a gun out in the second-floor classroom at the rural high school

Photo: Ben Queen/AP

Authorities have credited a teacher at Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, West Virginia, with calming down the teen who allegedly took his classmates hostage on Tuesday afternoon.

No one was hurt after the 14-year-old boy allegedly pulled a gun out in the second-floor classroom at the rural high school, taking 29 fellow students and his teacher hostage for several hours, the Associated Press reports.

Officials praised the actions of the unnamed teacher, who kept the 14-year-old calm and talked him into not allowing the next group of students to enter the classroom, according to the AP.

Those students then alerted administrators to the situation, who called 911 while the teacher continued to keep the armed teen under control. Her actions allowed time for the police chief to arrive. He then convinced the boy to release his classmates go and surrender.

“The teacher did a miraculous job, calming the student, maintaining order in the class,” Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Woofter said.

Woofter also praised Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters’ efforts. Walters “did an awesome job negotiating with this very troubled young man,” said Woofter.

At first, students didn’t believe something was truly happening when a “code-red” alert was sounded. Once they did, they “all held hands and said a prayer,” Kayla Smith, a 17-year-old senior, told the AP.

Charges are expected to be filed against the 14-year-old boy, who was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation.

“In such a trying time, I was just amazed at our parents and how everybody responded to the situation,” Woofter said. “I just thank God everybody is safe and hopefully we’ll never have a repeat of that again.”

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