The brave teacher who almost lost his life as he rushed to save his students from a shooter by tackling the assailant has spoken out for the first time since his ordeal.
Jason Seaman took a bullet for his students when he tackled the still-unidentified gunman as he entered Noblesville West Middle School Friday. Ella Whistler, a 13-year-old student at the school, was critically injured in the attack and remains in hospital.
“I want to make it clear that my actions on that day, in my mind, were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances,” Seaman told reporters Monday. “I deeply care for my students and their well-being. So that’s why I did what I did that day.
The 29-year-old former college football player said he was incredibly proud of Ella’s “courage and strength” as she heals from her gunshot wounds.
“We should all continue to keep her in our minds as she continues to recover,” Seaman said.
In a notable show of humility, Seaman refused to answer questions about his role in the saving of his students. He simply took the opportunity to thank all those involved in supporting the school community at this difficult time. But make no mistake about it, as students caught up in the attack clearly recalled, Seaman’s actions were nothing short of heroic.
“Mr. Seaman started running at him. He tackled him to the ground,” one boy told reporters in the aftermath of the shooting Friday, according to CNN. “We were all hiding in the back of a classroom behind some desks, then [Seaman] was yelling to call 911, to get out of the building as fast as we could, so we ran [out].”
School principal Stacey Swan said the injured girl’s condition is critical but stable, and that she continues to improve.
Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer described Friday’s shooting a “horrible and senseless tragedy” that has shaken the school in a profound way. With that being said, she noted that the community had shown “tremendous kindness, resilience and strength” in the aftermath,” according to Fox News. She also noted that the injured teen student was “making progress” in the hospital following the attack.
“I could not be prouder of Jason [Seaman], [Principal] Stacey [Swan], and the entire Noblesville West staff. Students, bus drivers, nurses…the list goes on. All acted swiftly. They stayed calm. They showed courage and followed all of our safety protocols,” Niedermeyer said.
She also praised Seaman for his decisive actions.
“We’re so grateful for Jason’s quick and brave actions on Friday. He’s a strong teacher. He’s a coach. He’s a father. He’s a husband, and he’s a son,” added the superintendent. “He put his own life in danger for his students. That alone tells you about his character and his big heart.”
President Trump also tweeted out his thanks for the hero teacher:
“Thanks to very brave Teacher & Hero Jason Seaman of Noblesville, Indiana, for his heroic act in saving so many precious young lives. His quick and automatic action is being talked about all over the world!” the president tweeted.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Jason cover his medical bills. So far, it has raised over $80,000.
“He was the first to intervene with the shooter. His actions saved the lives of many kids that were present in his class today. He put his life on the line for their protection. The funds will be going to the family for any personal expenses that have incurred due to the event,” the page description explains.
Many well-wishers have left messages of thanks and support for Jason in light of his selfless actions.
“Jason, you were a hero when there was no time to think, which means you are a hero at heart. You’ve made me even more proud to be a Hoosier, and I thank you for your courage in saving so many student lives!” one person wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“Jason, As a parent of both middle school and high school students, I’m grateful that heroes like you are indeed out there watching our kids. Heal quickly!!” another added.
A GoFundMe has also been set up for Ella Whilster, the 13-year-old student injured in the attack. The page had an original goal of just $5,000, but has raised over $40,000 so far.
“We have surpassed our original goal of $5,000 and then $10,000 in less than 24 hours. WOW!!!” read the latest update. “Thank you so much for taking the time to write your well wishes for Ella, donating and praying!!”