A heroic teacher who shielded her students from Oklahoma’s tornado this week is recovering in the hospital after the metal leg of a desk speared her in the calf.
According to the New York Daily News, the teacher, Suzanne Haley, says she’s grateful to be alive, and that the incredible injury she sustained isn’t life-threatening.
“It didn’t hit the bone. It just went through the muscle,” she told a local television station from her hospital bed Tuesday.
Haley, a paraprofessional at Briarwood Elementary School in suburban Oklahoma City, said she and another teacher immediately rushed the children under desks and into the corner of the classroom as the twister bore down Monday.
It was the last day of school, and the dozen students in her first-grade special education class were eager to start their summer vacations. Also inside the classroom were Haley’s two young daughters.
But there was no escaping the 2-mile-wide tornado.
“We could hear it approaching. It sounded like a jet ... coming closer and closer,” Haley told CNN’s Piers Morgan.
As the storm intensified, she and the students began praying. The roof blew off and a wall crashed down on their bodies.
At some point, the leg of a desk impaled Haley’s right calf.
Amid the chaos, Haley said, she could feel pressure on her leg. She asked one of her daughters whether something was stuck on it.
“She screamed that it was in my leg,” Haley said, according to the New York Daily News, adding that she “kept it together” despite the injury.
In about 10 minutes after the storm passed, rescue workers arrived to pull the children and teachers from the rubble.
Everyone survived — a huge relief after reports that seven children died inside nearby Plaza Towers Elementary School.
Haley said she has gained perspective on the terrifying disaster.
“I wouldn’t have changed anything about it,” she said. “I knew I had to be there and stay calm for the kids’ sake.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter of condolence to President Barack Obama and the American people following the tornado.