Teachers praised for ‘risking their lives’ to take children to safety after shooting outside Bermondsey primary school

Josh Salisbury (30 September, 2020)

Children and parents were forced to lockdown inside the school after the shooting outside

39129The air ambulance landed on the green near Lucey Way, SE16

Heroic teachers have been praised for ‘risking their lives’ to take children to safety after a shooting outside a Bermondsey primary school last week.

Schoolkids at St James’ Primary School in Bermondsey’s Alexis Street were forced to lockdown in fear inside the school after a man was shot outside just as they were leaving for the day.

The shooting victim, aged 27, was seriously injured in the gun horror on September 23.

Youngsters were herded back into the school by two heroic members of staff, who did not know whether those within the school could next be victims of the shooter.

Their courage has been praised by the chair of governors, Gary Jenkins, who is also the priest of the affiliated St James’ Church.

“The teachers were really heroes,” he said. “The two teachers outside started herding children back into the school because they didn’t know if there was going to be a follow-up [shooting].

“Thankfully there wasn’t. The school went straight into its lockdown procedure.

“The staff were absolutely outstanding. They really did put their lives at risk to bring the kids back in school.”

Pupils at the Church of England school were witnesses to the terrifying event, which happened as students were leaving for the day.

While none directly saw the shooting, children horrifically saw the body of the injured man lying on the ground.

Parents and children also saw the getaway car, said the priest. “A lot of people saw the getaway car, which drove at great speed just as the children were leaving,” he told the News.

Several children in the days after the shooting have chillingly raised fears that a gunman could shoot them inside school, said Mr Jenkins.

“One or two worried that the shooter would shoot people at the school, but we said, ‘It’s nothing to do with the school,’” he said.

“Some of them had been very close witnesses, so we wanted to reassure them, we wanted to create an atmosphere that allowed children to express what they were feeling and what they had seen.”

The following morning, church staff visited every classroom to reassure pupils in the Christian school.

Among the bible passages read to the students the day after the shooting was Psalms 23. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley,” it goes. “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

The Met has not yet made any arrests in connection with the broad daylight shooting, to which an air ambulance was called.

It was forced to land in nearby Lucey Way, a residential area, because it was the nearest patch of green space.

The victim, a 27-year-old man, has since been discharged from hospital after the shooting.

Police are continuing to appeal for information. Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 or tweet @MetCC and quote CAD4658/23Sep.

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