Elementary School Teachers Pin Down Intruder Who Forced Way Into Building

Teachers at a Tennessee elementary school managed to pin down an intruder who forced his way into the building until police arrived.

Inglewood Elementary School kindergarten teacher Rachel Davis was heading inside with her class when Onreka Gray allegedly leaped over the fence and charged toward the kids at about 10 a.m. on May 11, according to NBC affiliate Wave3.

She told the network: "I was trying to explain to him, 'sir, you cannot come in this door. This is not the front door. You're not allowed in this building.' And eventually, he wanted to get in so bad that he was lunging towards the kids."

Davis said she tried to stop Gray from getting inside and started screaming for help and added: "We struggled for a while, and he made it inside the building."

The teacher then explained that the next thing she remembered was tackling Gray to the floor. As Davis fell to the ground, she broke her elbow.

While Davis struggled, school bookkeeper Shay Patton and secretary Nikki Thomas helped her pin Gray down in the hallway as they waited for the police to arrive. They held him in place for 10 minutes.

She told Wave3: "We fell backward and he fell on top of me and eventually it took me, Nikki and Shay, all of us together to get him in the corner and restrain him from getting further down the hallway."

Thomas told the network: "I got him in a headlock, put his arm behind his back, and put my legs across him so he wouldn't get free."

All three were injured in the struggle, but they were thankful that Gray wasn't carrying any weapons.

Patton told the network: "We didn't even think about weapons. He could have had anything. I didn't even think about that until hours later. I was like.

"Not only did we protect them, but we could have endangered our own lives... We did endanger our own lives."

Newsweek has contacted the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and Metro Nashville Public Schools for comment.

Harassment and Violence

According to a 2022 American Psychological Association report, some 49 percent of teachers and school staff expressed a plan to quit or transfer to another school due to harassment or violence.

Susan Dvorak McMahon, Ph.D., chair of the APA Task Force on Violence Against Educators and School Personnel said in the study: "Violence against educators is a public health problem, and we need comprehensive research-based solutions.

"Current and future decisions to leave the field of education affect the quality of our schools and the next generations of learners, teachers and school leaders in the nation.

"Physical and verbal violence directed against school personnel may be exacerbating reports of high stress, transfers and leaving the profession."

Stock image of a classroom
A file photo of a classroom. The teachers stopped Gray from getting further into the school. Getty