Uvalde Teacher Who Lost 11 Students Says Nothing Could Prepare Him for Massacre: 'Laws Have to Change'

Teachers across the country are trying their best to prepare for the worst, but say their goal should be to teach students, "not to go to war."

A teacher who was shot twice in the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, shared in an emotional interview that he was the only person who survived when the gunman entered his classroom. 

Arnulfo Reyes told ABC's Amy Robach in a segment broadcast on "Good Morning America" that all 11 fourth graders who were in his classroom were killed. Two other teachers and eight children in an adjoining classroom were also killed in the May 24 shooting, the deadliest school shooting since 2012’s Sandy Hook massacre.  

Students earlier that day attended a ceremony marking the end of the year, and while some went home immediately after the event, some remained at school. Those in Reyes’s class who did were watching a movie when they began to hear gunshots.  

The children asked Reyes what was happening.  

“And I said, 'I don't know what's going on, but let's go ahead and get under the table. Get under the table and act like you're asleep,’” Reyes told “Good Morning America.”  

"As they were doing that, and I was gathering them under the table and told them to act like they're going to sleep, is about the time when I turned around and saw him standing there,” he said. 

Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire, shooting Reyes twice. One bullet struck his arm and lung, while the other struck his back. Ramos then turned his attention to the children, Reyes said, noting he was unable to move. 

Reyes said he cannot forgive law enforcement for not stopping Ramos sooner. Ramos was in the school for more than an hour before he was shot and killed by a Border Patrol tactical response team, authorities said.   

“After everything, I get more angry because [police] have a bullet proof vest. I had nothing. You are supposed to protect and serve; there is no excuse for their actions and I will never forgive them,” he said from his bed at a hospital, where he’s already undergone several surgeries.  

Seven of the 17 years Reyes has been a teacher have been spent in the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. No training could have prepared him for what he and his students encountered last month, he said. 

"It all happened too fast. Training, no training, all kinds of training—nothing gets you ready for this," he said. "We trained our kids to sit under the table, and that's what I thought ... at the time, but we set them up to be like ducks. ... You can give us all the training you want, but ... laws have to change," he continued. "It won't ever change unless they change the laws." 

Apologizing to the parents of his students, Reyes tearfully said, “I tried my best from what I was told to do. Please don’t be angry with me.” 

Like Reyes before, teachers across the country are trying their best to prepare for the worst.  

They go online to seek out advice from other teachers on what they can do to keep their students safe in the classroom in the event of the unthinkable.  

In Pittsburg, California, first grade teacher Kelsey Vidal has what she calls her active shooter backpack. The bag turns into a bullet proof vest, said Vidal, who has also invested in a barracuda bar to block doors and medical supplies for her classroom.  

“The backpack, I would use to put on myself,” she told Inside Edition, explaining that she could then act as a human shield for her students. “If anything happened … I would be placed in harm’s way … the children could run away, and I would be just protecting them.”  

She started posting videos of how she has prepared online, and they quickly went viral. Teachers from across the world are especially shocked at what the American educator has determined needs to be done to stay safe.  

“From the UK, Canada and Switzerland, and they are just shocked that this is what we have to do to stay safe in the classroom,” she said.  

“Our goal is to teach students, not to go to war.” 

Related Stories