May 21st, 2013
09:56 PM ET

Heroes or just doing their jobs? Teachers save lives during Oklahoma tornado

By Ed Lavandera and Dana Ford, CNN

Oklahoma City (CNN) - Second-grade teacher Tammy Glasgow walks around what's left of Briarwood Elementary, struggling to pick out of its wreckage the things that once made a school.

"This was the cafeteria."

"This is where my desk sat."

"This is my classroom door."

"That yellow wall that's standing, that's where we were," said Glasgow, pointing to a squat stack of cinder blocks.

She, like many teachers at Oklahoma City's Briarwood, helped to keep students safe when the tornado tore through Monday, killing at least 24 people in the area, but incredibly, given the state of the building, no one at Briarwood.

Their actions no doubt saved lives.

Many have called the teachers - at least one of whom literally shielded children with her body - heroes.

But Glasgow said simply: "It's just our job."

LZ Granderson: The courage of teachers

Right before the tornado hit, she hurried students into two bathrooms and a closet. There were about eights boys in the boys' bathroom, including Glasgow's son, and a dozen girls in the girls' bathroom.

She and other adults were with three children in the closet.

"Before I shut the doors, because both bathrooms had doors, I said, 'I'm going to shut these doors,' and I said, 'I love you.' The boys looked at me a little strange. (I) walked in the girls' (bathroom) and said, 'I love you' and they all said 'I love you' back.

"I just told them to pray, and then that's what we did the whole time in the closet, just prayed," said Glasgow.

The storm blasted through.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. 6th Grade Students

    Our sixth grade classroom had a difficult time coming to a consensus on this subject. We feel that she is a hero, but was also doing her job. As a teacher it is your responsibility to keep students safe while they are at school, but at the same time she comforted them with her words. She went above her job description.

    May 23, 2013 at 10:59 am |

    I think that the teachers we not only doing there job but they were also risking there life for those kids, so she is a HERO!

    May 22, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
  3. ellerj

    For me, they are both heroes and responsible teachers...

    May 22, 2013 at 2:09 am |