It was chaos as the horrific tornado that ripped through Oklahoma yesterday approached Plaza Towers Elementary school. But somehow, some way, first-grade teacher Becky Jo Evans' protective instincts kicked in. In the midst of all the noise, screaming, and destruction, Evans managed to think only about one thing: her students. She managed to usher some of them into a bathroom. As the walls began to fall around them, she quickly jumped on top of their tiny bodies to shield them from falling debris. After the horrific twister passed, the teacher continued on to pull children from the destroyed building.
As we have learned from school tragedies past, Evans' reaction was not unique. But that does not diminish what she did, it makes it all the more extraordinary. Stories of other Oklahoma school teachers who fearlessly protected their students in similar ways are coming to light in the aftermath, and we continue to be awestruck and grateful for each and every one.