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School officials from Danvers, Swampscott and the MATCH Charter Public School in Boston are expressing relief that none of the students visiting the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. at the time of Wednesday's deadly shooting was hurt.
Eighty 8th-graders at Holten Richmond Middle School in Danvers, 165 8th-graders from Swampscott Middle School and 33 10th-graders from the MATCH School were all on the scene.
Abigail Beshkin spoke with MATCH teacher Jared Taillefer, who is chaperoning his school's trip and was in the museum at the time of the shooting. He says students saw broken glass, heard shots and weren't sure whether they were going to be held hostage.
And we heard some gunshots, you could hear the shots inside the museum. And then, the Holocaust Museum has a big open square and you can see through the glass. So we looked down into the open square and saw that everyone was laying on the ground. So all the students were ahead of us, working their way down the stairs.
So, since we were at the end of the group, we heard the shots and we knew that all the students were in front of us, somewhere, with other chaperones. And so we just worked our way forward until we found a group of students. They wouldn't let us cross this divide because there was a glass window. But we just crossed it anyway.
And then we found a group of students, and then I began to communicate with the teacher on the outside, and had her write down all the names of the students that I was with, and then started to connect her to the other chaperones so we could find all the students.
Because we weren't sure at the time if there was going to be a hostage situation or whether they were gonna let us out of the museum. So then we just got with a group of about 14 of the students — almost half of them — and several chaperones, and just sort of found a place to hide, and we were staying down there.
Then we saw a lot of people running across the open square with guns, who were apparently plain-clothes officers, who were armed. But we weren't actually sure if those were, you know, police officers or not, or if they were people who were trying to hold hostages inside the museum.
And then eventually after [inaudible], we were communicating, we found all the chaperones — we hadn't located all the students, and we were starting to locate them. And then at that point they started to evacuate people from the museum, and we collected all the kids.
This program aired on June 10, 2009.
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