INGLEWOOD, Tenn.–Three Inglewood Elementary teachers were honored for their quick actions to stop and subdue an intruder before he could reach any students or staff inside.

“Here at Inglewood Elementary recess is normally a lot of energy a lot of play, a lot of noise,” Rachel Davis, kindergarten Teacher.

On May 11th, two teachers and 32 kids were at recess when a man started walking down the sidewalk and waved at the Davis to come over.

“I came to the edge of the fence and back then we had the short fence which is replaced now, and he kept pointing and indicating he wanted to get into our playground door,” said Davis. “I figured he was a parent and asked him to go around the building and just buzz in the front. We noticed he showed back up at the very bottom of the playground and just standing and moving in circles and myself Miss Hawkins had conversation where we felt like something was very different, we both got those uneasy feelings and we decided to go ahead and take the kids in.”

Davis said that day left a lasting impression on her when it comes to being a teacher, protector for children, and being mindful of their surroundings. The teachers then moved all 32 children to a side door and buzz for the front office.

“A dangerous person,” Davis thought to herself. “That today may be a situation that we have a dangerous person.”

Shay Patton, a school book-keeper answered the teacher’s call to the office.

“I was like hello, and she said everything that was going on, told me that somebody was on the playground and I was like I am on my way, hung up and ran down the hallway,” said Patton.

Davis recalled seeing the man notice they were going back inside and said she saw him pacing the fence, then hopped over it.

“Once I saw him hop over the fence I started racing to beat him to this front door. And so I ran right here and held the door with my foot so that way he couldn’t get in and I could push my weight against it and I told my kids just to wait here and he’s standing right in front of me,” said Davis.

Nikki Thomas, a school secretary, was also there that day and helped the teachers prop the door door open for the kids and barricade the man from coming into the school.

“I prop this door open to get the kids in first I’m telling him you’re not getting in here.  You’re not getting in this building and so I help some of the kids come in,” Thomas said when recalling her interaction with the stranger.

Davis remembers the man getting frustrated and barreling through, running into the kids and teachers.

“And I held him for a little while out here and all my kids are just frozen just staring at me so me and Ms. Nikki are at the same time run…inside right now and so at that point the whole class booked it inside and that’s when he started lunging again and both of us tussled all the way through the entryway,” said Davis.

She jumped on him from behind. And when she done that they both fell back into this corner and they were still tussling,” Patton recalls. “I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t think about it, jumped over there on top of them, and I stood there in this corner, like right here, up against this window and that’s how I hurt my shoulder.

Patton said Davis was behind them then, and the man was in between the teachers. That’s when Patton knew she had to keep it that way before the police arrived.

“Until the police came, she was directly behind me, and he was in between us, and then Ms. Nikki was here,” Patton points next to her. “And we all stood there like this until the police came. We held him, and he was fighting us.”

Due to the tough encounter, Davis suffered a broken elbow and Patton hurt her shoulder. Thomas also suffered a wrist injury and will require surgery she said.

“I really did that, that was me, I did everything in my power and that was kind of, that was kind of a superhero moment. I really felt in that moment I really am strong, and I can persevere through anything,” said Davis.

All three women recall the amount of strength it took to hold this man down and protect their students.

“You don’t realize the strength you have within, so I think that’s what I learned, and I’ll do anything to protect these children,” said Thomas.

Ashley Croft, the school principal, also says how amazed she was by the women’s commitment and strength that day.

“These amazing women are heroes because they put their lives on the line to protect our kids, and protect our staff,” said Croft. “They made a split second decision um to do what they had to do to keep everybody safe um, that makes them heroes.