Moore teacher covered Plaza Towers students with her own body during tornado

Rhonda Crosswhite protected 6th graders

MOORE, Okla - A Moore elementary school teacher helped save several students by covering them with her own body when a tornado tore down their school around them.

”When you’re a teacher you’re love those kids as if they’re your own.” said Rhonda Crosswhite, a sixth-grade teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary school. 

To hear her tell it, what she and the other teachers at Plaza Towers did that day wasn't a choice.

"It was almost like it was in slow motion," she said, describing the EF5 tornado going straight toward their school as they huddled in bathrooms and hallways, covering the children with their own bodies.

"I tried as much as I could do get over them," said Crosswhite, "And there was a little boy who kept saying, 'Mrs. Crosswhite, I don’t want to die.' and I kept saying,  'We are not dying. We are not going to die.'"

And she kept her promise. Every child she could cling to walked out alive. But teachers can only do so much. Seven children lost their lives in the school.

Wednesday, for the first time, the teachers from Plaza Towers gathered together to pray.

"We have teachers still in the hospital because they’re hurt, and you feel guilty. Why did they get hurt and I didn’t?" asked Crosswhite.

Teachers like Crosswhite have said they are just doing their job -- they had no choice that day. And that may be true. They made the choice a long time ago.

To teach. To protect. To sacrifice.

As Crosswhite put it: "None of us think we’re heroes. We’re teachers, and that’s what we do."

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