Tennessee school counselor opens up about talking student out of school shooting

Tennessee school counselor opens up about talking a student out of a school shooting
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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PLEASANT VIEW, Tenn. (WSAZ) - When we hear about school shootings, we may think to ourselves “how could this have been prevented?”

While every situation is different, most of the time it’s already too late to talk someone out of committing the horrific act.

However, in September of 2016, a counselor at Sycamore Middle School in Pleasant View, Tennessee, sat down face-to-face with a student, who had been armed with a gun, and tried her hardest to talk him out of going forward with a school shooting.

Molly Hudgens spent 90 minutes talking with this student, and she was successful in talking him out of making a tragic decision.

“I could tell from his demeanor and some of the questions that he was asking that something was not as it should be. He was very nervous, he was very concerned. I just had a thought that I think God gave me that he probably has a gun,” Hudgens said. “From then it became more about strategic prayer and thinking of what to say to him, how to get help if that was an option ... how to meet him where he was, how to recognize that he was in a situation where he was probably at one of his lowest moments and he needed someone to support him through that. So, really I was thinking that along with the overall thought/concept of ‘I have to protect our students.’”

Hudgens says in those critical moments, she incorporated a combination of prior research on school shootings, strategy, as well as prayer.

So, what is the message Hudgens hopes her story can get across?

“We hope people who hear our story will look around them for others who are struggling … that they will just recognize that and maybe be the person who goes to them and says, ‘Hey, is everything OK? Do you want to talk or do you want to get a cup of coffee?’ Just for that person to feel someone cares about them,” Hudgens said.