March 26, 1998 in Nation/World

Teacher Gave Life To Save Student

Jenny Price Associated Press
 

As a child, Shannon Wright would play school, writing out lesson plans for her little brother and making him do homework. As an adult, she landed her dream job, teaching English in the school district she attended.

She died there Tuesday in an ambush while protecting one of her pupils.

A former student, 13, and his 11-year-old cousin were arrested.

“That’s the only place she ever wanted to teach,” her husband, Mitchell, said.

As her students fell to the ground, screaming and bleeding in a pepper spray of gunfire, Wright threw herself in front of sixth-grader Emma Pittman.

The 32-year-old English teacher was shot in the chest and abdomen. She died later at a hospital. Emma was unharmed.

Police said Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, lured classmates out of school with a false fire alarm, then mowed them down in a barrage of bullets.

Mitchell Wright said his wife taught Johnson last year and was never critical of him.

“She never came home and talked bad about any of her kids.”

To the contrary, he said, his wife loved even the troublemakers and had the ability to win them over.

On Tuesday, Wright had just finished lunch with her students and returned to her classroom when a fire alarm rang and she ushered the children outside.

That’s when two boys opened fire with a cache of weapons.

Amber Vanoven, 11, said one was aiming at Emma Pittman.

“He was fixing to shoot her and Mrs. Wright moved out in front of her. She got shot,” she said. “I sat and watched her.”

Wright said he had no doubt that his wife acted instinctively.

“I’m sure that if she thought someone was trying to hurt one of her kids, she would try to protect them,” Wright said.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus