News and views from the award-winning author of the Class H Trilogy: AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED and PANCHO LAND

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teacher calms kindergarten students as bullets fly outside



On May 27 in Monterrey, Mexico a gunfight between rival cartels erupted in the street outside the kindergarten class taught by Martha Rivera Alinas. As they had been trained, the teacher and the children took refuge on the floor.

With the sounds of automatic weapons shattering the air, Martha calmed her frightened pre-school students, reassuring them with terms of endearment and leading them in a song.

"Nothing bad is going to happen here, precious ones," Martha told the class. "Put your little faces on the floor."

Five people were killed in the shootout outside. Thanks in no small part to the steady reaction of this teacher, none of the children were hurt.

Someone once said courage is grace under pressure. That could not be more true of Martha Rivera Alanis. Moments like these reminds us that for every ruthless cartel gunman there are many more decent, caring souls like this brave teacher.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez