Streams of tears flow from Lettye Thomas' eyes, thanking Principal Michael Peoples for protecting students from a gunman at Southeastern school in Blount County. "To risk his own life for them, there's no greater love than that," says Thomas.
Thomas has two grandchildren that attend the school; she says she feels more comfortable that they're at a school with a principal that would risk his own life to protect the students and staff members. Thomas says, "Just knowing these other kids were up here and there is somebody up here taking up for them, I thought the least you can do is come up here and tell him thank you."
Thomas isn't the only one thanking peoples for his heroism, but he doesn't consider himself anybody's superman. Principal Peoples says, "That's a pretty big thought there, I feel like I was a in a spot that would be expected of a principal, and if you're not capable of handling those high pressure moments then you probably need to think about doing something else."
With a background in military and over 30 years of teaching experience, the principal says things are back to business as usual.
"Most definitely, anytime you go through the school of hard knocks that's a good lesson to be learned," say Principal Peoples.
Meanwhile, teachers, students and even grandparents like Thomas appreciate the principal for this brave act that will never be forgotten...
Thomas says, "He is a hero. He's a great protector, and that's what you want when you got kids in school, somebody that looks after them, protects them, and teaches them."