Hurt Reynolds teacher was 'hero among heroes'

Hurt Reynolds teacher was 'hero among heroes'

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by Katherine Cook, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 12:20 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 12:49 PM

TROUTDALE -- At Reynolds High School, many lives were saved on Tuesday because of the actions of a few, including health and physical education teacher Todd Rispler.

"He's like one of the best teachers in school," said sophomore Edgar Arias.

"He's honestly one of my favorite teachers," added sophomore Erica Norton.

On Tuesday morning, Rispler, a PE teacher, track coach and 1982 graduate of Reynolds High School, put students' lives ahead of his own.

"I saw that he had blood on the side of his shirt," said Arias, recalling the moments after Rispler had been grazed on the hip by a bullet in the school gym.

That didn't stop the 50-year-old from doing something Troutdale police and Reynolds students called heroic.

Even though he was wounded, Rispler managed to make it to the administrative offices to start the school lockdown, police said.

"He was a hero among all the other heroes," said Reynolds Vice Principal Khandice Love. "If it wasn't for him and taking a chance, there could have been way more lives lost." 

News of the shooting spread fast among students who were hiding in their classrooms.

"It was really scary because someone figured out Rispler had been shot, but nobody knew if he was or wasn't okay," said Norton.

Students knew minutes later, when Rispler returned to help them evacuate.

"His bravery, knowing how to handle things, being calm," were among the things Arias noticed about Rispler in those tense moments.

"He was just being like everybody else, just saying 'it's okay, we're going to get through this,' recalled Norton. "He said, 'just get on the buses and get home get to your families.'"

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