Published January 13, 2015
Teachers at Columbine High School feel it's time their story is heard.
"It's been interesting for us as professionals knowing what had happened to see so many other groups publicly recognized for their contributions and we never have," said biology teacher Bev Williams.
The teachers have enlisted the help of retired Columbine librarian Mary Swanson, a published author. She has started recording the stories of at least 20 teachers, and is looking for a publisher.
"My feeling was if there's a book that's going to be written, I don't want it sensationalized," said Williams, who taught at Columbine for 22 years. "I just want to share with other people what teachers do when they're in a situation where their children are in danger.
"Although the event was extraordinary, what we did wasn't."
School district officials expect up to 100,000 people to visit Columbine to mark the April 20 anniversary of the day Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold stormed the school, killing 12 students and teacher Dave Sanders before committing suicide.
When the rampage began, some teachers herded their charges to safety. Science teachers pushed lab tables against windows to deflect bullets, barricaded classroom doors and tried to calm rooms full of terrified teens.
Chemistry teacher Theresa Miller, on hall duty, ran through the science department warning people, helping them into rooms.
She used a fire extinguisher to put out a small blaze ignited by a Molotov cocktail and helped take care of Sanders, who was shot while warning students in the cafeteria.
"Theresa did something extraordinary," said biology teacher Cappi Wyatt. "She's our living hero."
Some of the 31 students crammed into a makeshift greenhouse with Williams complained of vibrations. She later discovered the sounds were caused by bullets hitting a nearby wall.
Outside, frantic relatives trying to learn of the teachers' fate found little information available at emergency command posts. "They're like, 'Teachers? We don't know anything about teachers,' " Miller's husband was told.
Wyatt said: "They thought we were nonexistent."
Teachers are still coping with the aftermath of the shootings.
Doug Johnson has dreams of coming face to face with a wounded Sanders, who was taken to biology room. Like the others, Johnson said he never considered not returning to Columbine.
"I felt if I did that, Harris and Klebold would have won," he said.