LINDEN, N.J. (NewsNation Now) — A New Jersey teacher has been hailed a hero after preventing a potential tragedy on Wednesday when she jumped into a moving SUV as it was rolling toward a group of students outside a middle school.
Valerie Tauriello, a health teacher at Soehl Middle School in Linden, was on drop-off duty on the first day of school when she saw a parent get out of his vehicle and bring an iPad that a child had forgotten to the school’s entrance, the Linden Public Schools District said. Moments later, the car started rolling toward a group of students gathered on a sidewalk outside the school.
Linden Public Schools said the video shows Tauriello put “her own health and safety aside” when she ran to the driver’s side of the moving car, got into it, and brought it to a stop.
“I know I can’t run that fast, so at first I was kind of frozen,” Tauriello said. “But I was like, oh my God, I have to stop this car or it’s going to hurt somebody.
Gwendolyn Long, the school’s principal, said Tauriello thinks of students as if they were her own children.
“In a matter of seconds she informed the father of what’s going on, informed the staff to get the kids out of the way, then thought enough to risk her life, because she could have gotten injured,” Long said. “This is the person she is, and this is every day with Ms. Tauriello, thinking of our students first. The Soehl Middle School family is just blessed to have her.”
Before jumping into the vehicle, Tauriello shouted to another teacher to get the students out of the way.
The video also shows the parent racing toward his car, jumping in front of it in an effort to stop it, according to reports.
Storyful contributed to this report.
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