Retired teacher who disarmed student argues against arming teach - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Retired teacher who disarmed student argues against arming teachers

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LISBON, Ohio - Throughout the month of February, 21 News has been focusing on the subject of "Arming America's Teachers."

Now, a retired teacher, who disarmed a student with a gun, is speaking out saying she relied on knowledge and compassion to gain control of a potentially volatile situation 12 years ago.

For Linda Robb, March 23, 2000 is a day she will never forget.

It's the day a 12-year-old named John brought a loaded gun into the classroom at McKinley Elementary School in Lisbon. He had an extra clip in his pocket.

"He just took the clip out and by the sound of him shoving that clip back up in the gun, I knew it was real," Robb said.

Looking back in the 21 News tape archive of that day, we found video of horrified parents and paramedics rushing to the school after hearing word that a sixth grader had taken his classmates hostage at gunpoint.

Robb said, "I remember the faces of the children that were on the floor; the terrifying look on their faces. Then I remember looking over at John and he just had this blank stare on his face."

Armed with only her compassion, caring and a sense of calm; the veteran school teacher knew her actions literally could mean the difference between life and death for a classroom full of children.

"I wasn't terrified at the time. I didn't feel fear really until he got up out of the chair and started walking towards me, and then I wasn't really sure what was going to happen. But I just started telling him how much I had cared about him, and I thanked him for all the times he had helped me with projects," Robb said.

The sixth grader, who later said he was tired of being picked on, collapsed into the teacher's arms and handed her the gun.

Robb made national headlines and was hailed a hero for her actions that day. She was even honored by law enforcement for her handling of the situation.

But Robb shudders to think what would have happened if she would have been armed with a gun that day.

"There is absolutely no way I could have a gun in my classroom. In this instance it would have done me no good. What if I had a gun and I walked across that hall and he saw me with a gun. What does that do to him? What does that trigger?" Robb said.

What Robb does support is early intervention and mandatory counseling for students, like the child in this case who felt he didn't belong.

"When somebody sees these problems I think that's when you react and you get them some help. You don't wait until they're adults and they're over the line and they're getting assault weapons," Robb said.

The retired teacher feels a crisis in the classroom is only more dangerous when you combat violence with violence.

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