School teacher and single mother-of-three Tanai Benard hoped she’d never have to have a conversation with her children about school shootings.
The family relocated to Houston from Abu Dahbi in 2016 after living there for four years while Benard taught school.
“We didn’t have to think about things like this,” she said of living overseas. “There weren’t church shootings or school shootings there.”
But after the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, Benard knew it was an important conversation to start. She wanted to make sure that her children knew school drills were meant to be taken seriously.
“Sometimes the children don’t take it seriously,” she said to Inside Edition. “They run around and goof off with their friends. I just wanted to make sure my own child took it seriously.”
When she asked her youngest son Dez if he’d practiced active shooter drills at school, he answered that they did. But then he said something that left her speechless.
“If it came down to it, I would rather be the one that died protecting my friends then have an entire class die and I be the only that lived,” he said.
He continued to say that if it came to it, he would push a table in front of the classroom door and take the bullets for the other kids in his class.
“The teacher is supposed to shut and lock the door, put the black paper over the window on the door,” Dez said to his mom. “Then myself and three other boys are supposed to push the table against the door. After that all the class is going to stand behind us on the back wall.”
Benard was shocked, torn between applauding his selflessness and telling him to protect his life.
“All I could ask him was why. And he said he would prefer that all of his friends live, and he die, rather than he live and they die,” Benard said.
“How do I teach my child to not be selfless?” she continued. “We’ve been talking about it over and over. I keep asking him why isn’t his life as valuable as others in his eyes. He said he thought it was. He said it was like Jesus trying to help others.”
And Dez wasn’t changing his mind. When he was asked if he truly understood what it meant to be dead, he replied that he did.
“It means you can’t have a life no more. You won’t be on this earth. You won’t be able to breathe. You’ll be six feet underground. You won’t be able to have anymore fun experiences.”
But when asked if he would still save his friends first even though he knew what it meant, the brave 10-year-old said he would.
Benard posted the conversation she had with her son to Facebook, and it has since gotten over 68,000 likes and been shared more than 37,500 times.
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