'We'll carry you': Students’ active shooter plan for teacher in wheelchair goes viral

Published: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 @ 5:37 PM

Students’ Plan to Help Teacher in Wheelchair During Active Shooter Plan Goes Viral

The day after a gunman killed 17 students and staff at a Florida high school, Ohio schoolteacher Marissa Schimmoeller was particularly emotional. 

It was the first time Schimmoeller, a first-year English language arts teacher at Delphos Jefferson High School in Delphos, had to face her students in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy. And she knew the question she dreaded most would come. 

Soon after class began, it did, Schimmoeller shared in a Facebook post later that afternoon.

“Mrs. Schimmoeller,” a freshman girl asked. “What will we do if a shooter comes in your room?”

Schimmoeller, who uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, wrote that her stomach sank as she began her planned speech about the plan in place in the event of an active shooter. Then came the hardest part. 

“I want you to know that I care deeply about each and every one of you and that I will do everything I can to protect you,” Schimmoeller wrote that she told her students. “But, being in a wheelchair, I will not be able to protect you the way an able-bodied teacher will. And if there is a chance for you to escape, I want you to go. Do not worry about me. Your safety is my number one priority.”

The students were silent for a few moments as her words sank in, Schimmoeller wrote. Then another student raised her hand.

“Mrs. Schimmoeller, we already talked about it. If anything happens, we are going to carry you,” the girl said, according to Schimmoeller

Schimmoeller said she “lost it” when she realized that her students already had their own plan in place to protect her. 

“With tears in my eyes as I type this, I want my friends and family to know that I understand that it is hard to find the good in the world, especially after a tragedy like the one that we have watched unfold, but there is good. True goodness,” the teacher wrote. “It was found in the hearts of my students today.”

Schimmoeller’s post almost immediately went viral, with more than 25,000 people sharing it on their own pages. Since then, the 24-year-old teacher has done interviews with media from Ohio to Ireland. 

Schimmoeller told “Today” that she felt the need to tell her story because she knew that other people shared her anger over the violence they were witnessing and needed a reminder that good exists in the world.

“When I was in front of those amazing kids as they told me they would carry me out of our building if, God forbid, we were faced with a situation like the one in Florida, it occurred to me that every child, every one of my students, is so full of light and goodness,” Schimmoeller said

Schimmoeller also did an interview with Cork’s 96FM in Cork, Ireland, in which she spoke about her disability and how it played into the fear surrounding school shootings.  

“I think students are a little on edge, especially with the violence in Florida and it being shared on social media through videos of the survivors, and I think the fear is a real one,” Schimmoeller said in the interview

She said, however, that she wrote her Facebook post to focus instead on the goodness and positivity she sees at work every day. She said she initially worried about whether she could be an effective teacher from a wheelchair, but that her students are always willing to help her by passing out papers to the class or writing on the board.

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Schimmoeller said that in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day, she pondered how she would make her students feel safe when she feared her own limitations. 

“I realized that, my freshmen especially being new to this building, we should review the … training we’ve all undergone. I also wanted to make clear to them that I would do everything in my power to keep them safe,” Schimmoeller said. “Because ultimately, I think some of their instinct was to protect me, being that I am in a more vulnerable position.”

She said she wanted students to know that their first instinct should be to see to their own safety. 

“I’m sure that my co-workers and staff at the school would keep me safe, but it was up to me to make sure that (the students) knew that my priority was their safety,” she said. “And if worse comes to worse, I wanted them to leave me because their safety is more important than my own.”

She told the students she would die for them, and went over with them ways in which they could use her chair’s wheels as weapons against an armed intruder, Schimmoeller told the radio station

Regarding her students’ reaction to her speech, Schimmoeller said she was overcome by their willingness to risk themselves to save her.  

“I started to cry when I thought about how incredible it is that these young people who I’ve known only since August were willing to do that for me,” she said

Schimmoeller said her first-period students were not the only ones to show compassion that day. She gave the same talk in all of her classes, and one student offered to give her a “piggyback ride” if need be. 

Other students said it would not be OK if anything happened to her. 

“I had one student say, ‘Well, Mrs. Schimmoeller, nothing can happen to you,” she said. The world needs more Mrs. Schimmoellers. Who’s going to be there to teach kids like me?”

“And that really touched my heart, and I think that’s what drove me to write the Facebook post.”

The public’s response to Schimmoeller’s viral post was worldwide, with commenters praising the young teacher for the inspiration she is to her students. 

“There are teachers that make a difference in our children’s lives, and you most surely are one of them,” one woman wrote. “Thank you from a parent in Missouri.”

“Marissa, you are an amazing teacher to be able to inspire your student,” a man wrote. “Fantastic. Touched our hearts down here in Australia. Keep up your great work.”

Others praised the students. 

“Way to go, DJHS students,” another woman wrote. “A testament to you, your families and your teacher. Thanks for reminding the world that we should take care of each other.”

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Beyonce, Jay-Z’s On The Run II tour adds more dates

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 9:57 AM

Jay-Z and Beyonce Through The Years

After numerous sell out shows, Beyonce and Jay-Z have added nine dates to their “On the Run II” stadium tour.

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Variety reported that shows have been added in Amsterdam (June 20), Washington, D.C. (July 27), East Rutherford, New Jersey (Aug. 3), Chicago (Aug. 11), Columbus, Ohio (Aug. 16), Columbia, South Carolina (Aug. 21), Atlanta (Aug. 26) and Los Angeles (Sept. 23). 

Related: Beyonce, Jay-Z announce ‘On the Run 2’ tour

The tour will close with a new date in a new city -- Seattle on Oct. 4.  

Presales for additonal dates begin March 21 at 10 a.m. local time. 

The additional North American dates, as well as previously announced tour dates, are below. More information is at Tidal.com

July 25 - Cleveland, FirstEnergy Stadium

July 27 - Washington, D.C., FedEx Field

July 28 - Washington, D.C., FedEx Field 

July 30 - Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field 

Aug. 2 - East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium 

Aug. 3 - East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium 

Aug. 5 - Boston, Gillette Stadium 

Aug. 8 - Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium 

Aug. 10 - Chicago, Soldier Field 

Aug. 11 - Chicago, Soldier Field 

Aug. 13 - Detroit, Ford Field

Aug. 16 - Columbus, Ohio

Aug. 18 - Buffalo, New York, New Era Field 

Aug. 21 - Columbia, South Carolina

Aug. 23 - Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt Stadium 

Aug. 25 - Atlanta, Mercedes Benz Stadium 

Aug. 26 - Atlanta, Mercedes Benz Stadium 

Aug. 29 - Orlando, Florida, Camping World Stadium 

Aug. 31 - Miami, Hard Rock Stadium 

Sept. 11 - Arlington, Texas, AT&T Stadium

Sept. 13 - New Orleans Mercedes-Benz Superdome 

Sept. 15 - Houston, NRG Stadium 

Sept. 19 - Phoenix, Arizona, University of Phoenix Stadium 

Sept. 22 - Los Angeles, Rose Bowl

Sept. 26 - Los Angeles, Rose Bowl

Sept. 27 - San Diego, SDCCU Stadium 

Sept. 29 - Santa Clara, California, Levi’s Stadium 

Oct. 2 - Vancouver, BC Place

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Keyless ignitions may be contributing to deaths across the United States

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 11:34 PM

(Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
(Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Constance Petot didn't think twice about the push button starter on her car until it almost killed her and her toddler last Valentine's Day.

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"He just went completely limp in my arms. It's the most terrifying moment in my entire life," said Petot.

The busy mom was ending her work day with a conference call as she was pulling into the garage of her parents' Florida home, where she was staying.

"As I came in I wanted the garage door to be closed when the conference call started so I went ahead and pushed the button to close the door," Petot said. "And I think in my head I just told myself I had pushed this button instead of that button."

The mistake sent carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas, flooding through their home as she got 13-month-old Parker ready for bed.

The car was still on after Petot left the garage.

"My son woke up around 12:30 a.m. and was screaming," Petot recalls.

She got out of bed to pick him up.

Petot thinks her son, Parker, may have had a headache because she now knows the level of carbon monoxide at the time was high enough to have killed them within about 20 minutes.

"Once I got dizzy, I knew I needed to get out of there," Petot said. "And walked down the stairs, opened the garage door and saw that the taillight was on."

A WSB-TV investigation has tracked more than two dozen injuries and deaths around the country connected to cars with keyless ignitions being left on, with families left wondering how this could happen.

Cars with keyless ignition have no key and are designed to start with the push of a button. But it is also easier to forget to turn off the car.

The family of Bill Thomason and Eugenia (Woo) Thomason say the couple likely never realized their mistake. Their Toyota Avalon ran inside their closed garage for 32 hours as they slept.

"We know that they went to bed that night and didn't wake up the next morning," said Will Thomason, who now lives in Atlanta.

His brother Dave Thomason also lives in the metro area, and they both rushed to Greenville, South Carolina, to get to their parents, but it was too late.

"By the time they were found they were essentially brain dead," said Will Thomason. "You can't prepare for something like this."

The sons say the active retirees had just renewed their wedding vows after 50 years and adored their five grandchildren, who they won't get to see grow up.

"Oh, it's been just absolutely terrible," said Dave Thomason. "We all know that people can get killed in car accidents due to different things, but a car sitting alone, basically doing nothing but running?"

The brothers said their pain is worsened by the number of times they've now heard the same story, with reported deaths and injuries connected to running cars around the country.

The Thomason family has filed a lawsuit against Toyota, which has already settled with several of the other families.

"Hell yeah, that makes me angry. I mean, we've lost our parents," said Will Thomason.

"Nobody is in the car, it's been running for however long. The car should have an automatic cutoff. I mean, to me that's a very easy fix," said Dave Thomason.

Records show since 2011 the federal government has been studying the need for an external alert to be placed on cars that have button ignitions, but has yet to require car companies to do anything to include an external alert.

"There's probably 25 other things that car makers do ... for safety. Well, this is a life and death safety thing and it seems to me that this is an easy thing for them to address, and they aren't addressing it," Will Thomason said.

WSB-TV tested more than a dozen of the most popular cars to see what happens when you leave them running and walk away with the key fob.

Most of the cars had a dashboard display that notes that the key fob has left the vehicle. Some even emit a low interior sound, similar to the one that reminds drivers to fasten their seat belts. 

However, if a driver has left the vehicle, he or she wouldn't see that display or hear that warning. Very few of the cars made an exterior noise.

The loudest warning came from the Chevy Impala, which utilizes the car's horn.

Petot didn't hear the three low beeps her car made and she's lived with the guilt ever since.

"I absolutely take responsibility for what happened," she said. "And I think that it could happen to anybody."

But she said the price for being distracted or forgetful should not be death.

"We were incredibly lucky. We absolutely wouldn't be here," Petot said while watching Parker play in their new Marietta home. "He is definitely my little hero Valentine."

Petot said the day they moved in to their new home she purchased carbon monoxide detectors for each of the rooms.

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'Serial bomber' suspected in Austin explosions, police say

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:12 PM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:12 PM

What You Need to Know: Austin Package Explosions

Police in Austin continue to investigate a series of explosions that have claimed two lives and left at least four other people injured.

Here is the latest information:

>> READ MORE: Photos: Austin police investigate explosionsFor investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombingsMap shows location of 4 Austin bombsAustin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombingsMan held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police sayAustin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police sayThe Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrestedAustin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony HouseMORE

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YARR! Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean reopens with new twist

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:34 AM

Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.(Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk)

Walt Disney World’s Pirates of the Caribbean reopened Monday at the Magic Kingdom park, with a new twist to a red-headed figure.

Guests might remember a key part of the ride where a red-headed woman was on the auction block.

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Now, the pirate auctioneer oversees a sale of the townspeople’s most prized possessions and goods, and not the women. Some of the women have also been swapped out with men from the plundered town.

 The well-known red-headed figure has “switched sides” and has become a pirate named Redd, who pillages the town’s rum supply, according to the Disney Parks Blog.

 “Just as Walt Disney embraced and encouraged Disney Parks to ‘keep moving forward’ since the opening of Disneyland Park in 1955, Walt Disney Imagineering has introduced many new characters at Pirates of the Caribbean attraction over the years,” according to the Disney Parks Blog.

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