HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — News 8 spoke with a substitute teacher who was working at Village Elementary School in Hilton Wednesday.
Matthew Spinner is also a Hilton parent, who had to navigate both his classroom and students as well as his own children’s whereabouts.
“I think when you’re in a moment like that, you tend to say, ‘I’m going to be strong for everyone else,'” said Spinner.
Spinner was supervising a 6th grade class in Hilton when he says staff were notified to go into a lockout about a half hour into the school day. That lockout eventually turned into a precautionary evacuation district-wide.
“As we got out there, you’re starting to see the entire building out there, and I think that was kind of a wake-up moment where something might be off,” said Spinner.
Spinner says while there were nerves among students and staff, his first instinct was to present a calm demeanor for his students.
“They’re saying things like, ‘I hope I get to see my mom and dad again. I wonder where my brother is. I wonder where my sister is.’ Seeing that not just from a substitute for that day, but I’m also a dad, “I called the class over to me and said, ‘I know right now you’re nervous. I know you’re sad, you don’t know what’s happening, but I’ll tell you what I tell my kids — as long as you remain as calm as you can on the outside, as hectic as you feel on the inside, that everyone will be calm around you.”
One of Spinner’s children was on the grounds nearby, and another was at the high school. Overall, he says he commends the district for how the situation was handled.
“I’m not sure what else could have been done. Scary things are going to happen in life and we can’t control that, but it’s how you respond, how you get back up and move forward,” said Spinner.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.