NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana woman who survived last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas says her instinct to protect her students kicked in during a recent shooting at the middle school where she works.
Shelly Alexander is a special education assistant at Noblesville West Middle School, The Herald reported. A 13-year-old student opened fire at the school on May 25, wounding a student and a teacher.
Alexander said she first felt panic when she heard the commotion, thinking back to when she was caught in the line of fire in Las Vegas while in a taxi during the October shooting that killed 58 people.
“But I knew as a leader in the building, I had to turn that to purpose,” Alexander said. “I had to protect.”
Alexander said she turned her pain and worry into action during the school shooting, sheltering her students inside a locked classroom before ushering them to safety.
While she felt “very alone” after the Las Vegas shooting because no one she knew went through the same experience, the school shooting is different because the Noblesville community is “going through it together,” she said.
Alexander said she’s trying to help others heal from the shooting by informing them that there are many methods of self-care. She attends counseling, does yoga, creates music, uses calming oils and employs deep breathing.
“There’s been times where I didn’t think I needed a counselor or I didn’t want to go to my appointment, but then always afterward it was such a relief and I was so glad that I went,” Alexander said. “I think my job is to make sure the staff knows there is help out there.”