(NEW YORK) — The injured middle school teacher who tackled a gunman in his Indiana classroom said, “my actions on that day, in my mind, were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances.”
“I deeply care for my students and their well-being, so that’s why I did what I did that day,” science teacher Jason Seaman, 29, said at a news conference Monday morning.
The shooting at Noblesville West Middle School happened Friday morning after a student asked to be excused from class, Noblesville police said. The schoolboy then allegedly returned to the classroom with two handguns and opened fire, shooting and injuring Seaman and student Ella Whistler.
Seaman, who has been a teacher and football coach at the middle school for four years, immediately ran at the gunman and tackled him to the ground, according to seventh-grader Ethan Stonebraker, who was in the classroom at the time.
Seaman has since been released from the hospital. Ella was listed in critical condition on Friday.
“I can’t say enough of how proud of Ella I am,” Seaman said today. “Her courage and strength at such a young age is nothing short of remarkable.”
Seaman “put his own life in danger for his students — that alone tells you about his character and his big heart,” Beth Niedermeyer, superintendent of Noblesville Schools, said at Monday’s news conference.
Niedermeyer added that she is “so grateful for Jason’s quick and brave actions.”
“He’s very brave, he’s a hero,” Ethan, 13, told ABC News Friday. “And he did something that most people would never dare to do.
“If it wasn’t for him … a lot of us could have been hurt,” Ethan said. “He pretty much protected all of us and it’s something that you couldn’t ask more of.”
Superintendent Niedermeyer also said that Ella is “making progress” in the wake of the “horrific and senseless tragedy.”
After Monday’s news conference, Seaman headed to the school’s baseball game where he greeted students with high fives.
“I’m just happy to be here,” he told the crowd of students gathered to see him.
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