Philip Barbour teacher reflects on day student took classroom hostage
By Erin Beck, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Nearly a year has passed since a 14-year-old student with a gun took Twila Smith’s classroom hostage. But she still feels uneasy around open doors.
On Aug. 25, 2015, Smith, a teacher at Philip Barbour High School, was preparing to teach her sixth-period world studies class when the freshman student, who had missed her first-period class, hurried into the room.
She thought he’d come to ask about missed homework. He put a gun to her head and told her she was going to die.
Smith recounted the experience at the West Virginia Center for Professional Development’s Safe Schools Summit at the Charleston Marriott Town Center on Tuesday.
She noticed toward the beginning of her speech that a door at the back of the room was open.“I thought, ‘Am I going to have to get up there and speak with that door open,’ because the door to my classroom was open,” she said Tuesday. “It became an issue for me and the students that were in there all throughout the rest of the year.”
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