As the kids trooped back into the suburban Atlanta elementary school that was stormed by a gunman earlier this week, everyone was talking about Antoinette Tuff.
The bookkeeper, an eight-year veteran of the DeKalb County school district, talked suspect Michael Brandon Hill into surrendering after a brief standoff with police Tuesday afternoon. Faced with an armed 20-year-old who told her he was off his medication for a mental disorder, Tuff shared stories of heartbreak from her own life to help calm him down — a recent divorce, a son with multiple disabilities.
Tuff was off Thursday as the students returned to Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, recovering from a pre-scheduled surgery. But Principal Brian Bolden said he credited Tuff’s quick thinking for avoiding what could have been a major tragedy.
“Her name, Antoinette Tuff, says everything about her,” Bolden said. “Tough. She has always been that way from the first time I met her.”
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