Teacher's Response To Gunmen On Campus Goes Viral, 'I'd Take A Bullet For You'

Holly Matkin

El Paso High School teacher Russell Lang was determined to protect his students from three alleged gunmen.

El Paso, TX – A high school social studies teacher armed with a yardstick hugged a frightened student and vowed he would “take a bullet” for her and her classmates after the school went into lockdown on Thursday morning (video below).

Police and school officials placed El Paso High School on lockdown that morning after they received reports that three armed subjects were inside the building, KFOX reported.

Student Nicole Garate said she and her peers initially thought that the incident was an active shooter drill.

“We thought it was a drill until we heard the cops coming, the sirens, and we started hearing the helicopters going around school,” Garate told KFOX.

Social studies teacher Russell Lang grabbed a yardstick and positioned himself by the doorway to the classroom as the frightened students sought cover.

“We just hid and were doing whatever Mr. Lang told us to do,” Garate recalled.

“He was just standing at the door with the ruler,” she said. “We were like, 'We don’t think that’s safe,' but he told us he was going to do what he could to keep us safe.”

That’s when the frightened teen asked her teacher for a hug.

“She asked from across the room if she could have a hug and I said, 'Of course you can,'” Lang told KFOX.

A video clip of Lang comforting Garate has gone viral.

“I’d take a bullet for you guys,” the teacher told her and her classmates. “You guys have lives to live.”

Lang said he was also frightened about the possibility of gunmen being inside the school, but that protecting his students was his top priority.

“We started talking about what was happening and that's when kids started to emote more," Lang told KVIA. "Certain kids were saying 'hey, thank you for standing by the door,' and I didn't know that was something special but apparently it was to them and I'm glad that I was able to make them feel safer."

El Paso police located three suspects during a room-by-room search and recovered a BB gun, KVIA reported.

They were detained, but it is unclear whether or not any of them are facing charges.

Lang, a graduate of El Paso High School, said that he doesn’t believe he did anything remarkable during the frightening incident.

“I’m not any sort of hero or anything like that,” he told KFOX. “I was just trying to make a kid feel more secure and other teachers did the same.”

"I believe that most teachers have a desire to protect and to nurture," Lang continued, according to KVIA. "We've had situations where we had to go on lockout before and we've done lockdown drills before so I just did my job which was to ensure the safety of my 30 kids.”

Lang said that one of the main reasons he became a teacher was because of all of the educators who helped him when he was a kid.

“Thinking about how to best serve our kids has not just become teaching but protecting,” he told KFOX.

You can watch cell phone footage of Lang comforting Garate and reassuring his students in the video below:

Comments (10)
No. 1-7

A glock would have offered more protection than his yard stick.

Bubba B
Bubba B

Every teacher ought to have a locked gun case in their classroom, which only they, the principle, and any stationed police officers have the key/combination to.
A yardstick is not gonna do anything against a bullet, and once he is dead-his students are basically defenseless, unless properly trained in anti attack combat meneuvers.


"Armed with a YARDSTICK!" "Oh No!... Not That!" said the 3 gunmen


Like most teachers, he's more concerned for his students than his own life but not thinking too well. (Ever notice how teachers don't go postal on their students?)

Having said that, he needs better training and a locking door. The best way to save everyone is to look like the room is vacant and locked. Last resort is to attack. I taught Earth Science so at least I had a room full of rocks..


Misguided, uninformed and short on real defensive measures but a good heart.
He was only kidding himself.


This teacher is awesome an he also loves his students


At my JH we had a situation where an announcement came on in the central Commons where I was in charge of Study Hall, however it did not go over the entire PA system IN all classrooms. "THIS IS AN ACTIVE SHOOTER ALERT. THIS IS NOT A DRILL". Having LEO family members and respecting their daily decisions to willingly lay their lives on the line, I took charge when no one else was. I ordered the students into a classroom off the Commons. It has two locking doors, an L shaped double classroom set up with heavy immovable science lab islands, no line of sight options, even a small impenetrable locking closet area (science chemicals kept safe from students), windows with the potential for escape or access for first responders. I stood in the doorway, yelling at kids to GET THEIR BUTTS IN HERE! I'm short but very heavy and fiercely protective of my kids. I know my body can take a couple of bullets (I own a firearm and being who I am, I've researched all aspects), potentially yielding a few seconds for kids not yet in. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew are my heroes. To do less would be a dishonor. Afterwards, in my school's usual haphazard manner, the announcement was downplayed as a 'malfunction' (smh!). The reason for sharing this? I was called on the carpet and thoroughly chewed out for my actions! I was soundly berated because the students were supposed to 'run and hide'. Being an alumni of the school, and having sussed out options when I started teaching, I had proactively mentally planned for any situation that might arise. The only two options for escape from the Commons are shooting galleries--both funneling students into narrow, inescapable areas that anyone who knows the layout of the school ALREADY KNOWS ABOUT. I've counted 18 points of potential egress with the basic layout a round robin of a maze. My kids say I missed a few that students know about. Incidentally, I'd been previously been berated for posting on this forum. I was told remarks I'd made were detrimental to our school's image (not true since I didn't reference my school). That's no longer a concern. I was wrongly terminated eventually. Apparently being concerned about the safety and well being of kids isn't well received.