NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - The heroic teacher who stopped a shooter Friday at Noblesville West Middle School addressed the public for the first time Monday.
Jason Seaman and other officials spoke at Noblesville Schools Educational Services Center, located at 18025 River Rd.
“I want to make it clear that my actions on that day, in my mind, were the only acceptable actions I could have done given the circumstances," Seaman said. "I deeply care for my students and their well-being. So that's why I did what I did that day."
Seaman was injured and a student, 13-year-old Ella Whistler, was critically wounded during Friday's shooting. The teen is in critical but stable condition and was recovering, school officials said. The shooting happened inside Seaman's seventh-grade science class.
According to firsthand accounts, he subdued the shooter. Seaman conceded he was uncomfortable in the spotlight but said he had to act. He insisted he wasn't the only hero that day.
"In the last couple of days, I've heard story after story of how members of the Noblesville West family conducted themselves that day," he said. "I couldn't say enough times how proud of them I am."
Seaman spoke of Whistler's incredible strength as she recovers.
"I'm can't say enough how proud of Ella I am, and how we all should be. Her courage and strength at such a young age is nothing short of remarkable, and we should all continue to keep her in our minds as she continues to recover."
Seaman thanked the officer who helped him and another colleague who helped keep Whistler calm after the shooting. He also had kind words for the staff at IU Health Methodist Hospital who treated him after the shooting.
Superintendent Beth Niedermeyer also spoke Monday, calling Friday's shooting a "horrible and senseless tragedy" that shook the community. She told reporters that she's seen "tremendous kindness, resilience and strength" in the aftermath. She also gave an update on Whistler.
"Ella, our student who was injured, is making progress. She's surrounded by loving family, friends and a huge circle of well-wishers. Please keep her in her prayers during her recovery," Niedermeyer said.
The superintendent said the school has provided counseling services for students and staff and would continue to do so throughout the summer. She also said the overwhelming support from across the community and nation has been a source of strength.
"I could not be prouder of Jason [Seaman], [Principal] Stacey [Swan], and the entire Noblesville West staff. Students, bus drivers, nurses...the list goes on. All acted swiftly. They stayed calm. They showed courage and followed all of our safety protocols," Niedermeyer said.
"We're so grateful for Jason's quick and brave actions on Friday. He's a strong teacher. He's a coach. He's a father. He's a husband, and he's a son. He put his own life in danger for his students. That alone tells you about his character and his big heart."
Principal Stacey Swan echoed Niedermeyer's comments, saying she witnessed so much strength and courage on Friday.
"Jason Seaman is a hero, no doubt, but he is only one of the heroes I saw on this day," Swan said. "Our own school nurse and resource officer were first on the scene and provided immediate medical attention. Our teachers reacted swiftly, boldly to make essential calls for help."
Other staff members battled their own fears to get children to safety, Swan said.
"The students reacted competently and courageously in following the training their teachers provided them," Swan said. "Specifically Ella, whose fight and determination is without measure as she continues to improve."
Swan said the school would emerge from Friday's shooting stronger than before.
"We are stronger together, and we will continue to amaze you."