A Tennessee Middle School Counselor is being applauded for her actions that may have saved many lives when she talked down a student who came to school with a loaded gun and extra ammunition.
Molly Hudgens, a counselor at Sycamore Middle School for 19 years, talked the 14-year-old boy out of what could have been a mass shooting just after his first period on Thursday when he requested to see her, police said.
According to Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove, the teen said he planned to kill some teachers and a police officer, but was going to spare students.
The 14-year-old "indicated that she (Hudgens) would be the only one to talk him out of it," Breedlove said.
“She did something that even the most experienced law enforcement officer couldn't do and it may have ended up tragically,” said Breedlove. “We're dealing with people with weapons every day. She was able to diffuse the whole situation before we even had knowledge of what was going on. I commend her for that.”
Hudgens quickly realized something was wrong when the teen started asking alarming questions during the meeting, police said in a news conference. She then asked the teen if he had a gun and he admitted that he did and that it was “under his clothing," police said.
During the meeting, police said the teen had a semi-automatic gun, which reportedly belonged to his family, in his waistband. Hudgens was eventually able to convince the teen to hand it over to her after talking to him for about an hour, according to reports.
Hudgens tried to reach out to a student resource officer during the encounter but couldn’t get through to the officer through email. She eventually ended up sending a text, which is how police were notified.
They arrived within minutes and recovered the gun.
Breedlove said the counselor "had a lot on her shoulders" as she was simultaneously trying to alert law enforcement using her cell phone in "a discreet manner" so she would not alarm the teen or cause him to panic.
Hudgens "was able to diffuse a potential deadly mass shooting," Breedlove said. "She single-handedly saved the lives of many people and should be recognized as a hero in our community."
In a video posted to the Cheatham County School District Facebook page, Hudgens said she takes her job seriously.
"Sycamore Middle has been my home for almost 19 years, and the safety of our school is a responsibility that I take very seriously as a school counselor," she said. "Yesterday, my previous training and experience granted me the opportunity to help a student in need while protecting our school family as well.”
The teen was arrested and charged with with carrying and possession of a weapon on school property and communicating a threat concerning a school employee.
He is behind bars in Williamson County Juvenile Detention Center.