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Video: Kindergarten teacher leads children in song during shootout in Mexico

In the video, the frightened but determined voice of a schoolteacher is heard as she attempts to maintain calm among a group of kindergartners lying on the floor before her, asking them to join her in a singalong as gunfire shatters the air outside.

The teacher refers to the children as "my love," "precious" and "little ones" during the stirring clip filmed last week in the city of Monterrey, in northern Mexico. It's gone viral, igniting once more a public debate over the government's campaign against drug gangs and earning accolades for maestra Martha Rivera Alanis, reports the Associated Press.

The Nuevo Leon state government honored Rivera for "outstanding civic courage" in a ceremony today.

The 33-year-old mother of two said she was frightened, but that her "only thought was to take their minds off that noise." The song she chose during the ordeal is a Spanish-language version of a tune popularized by the children's TV program "Barney and Friends," and makes reference to chocolate droplets falling from the sky.

Rivera filmed the video during a gunfight Friday in which five people were killed at a taxi stand in La Estanzuela, a district in south Monterrey. According to a local news site, Regioblogs, the teacher posted the video to her Facebook account and then was asked permission to have it reproduced on YouTube and linked to the site. So far the original clip has garnered more than 714,000 views.

"We do drills constantly, because the area where we are is a high-risk zone," Rivera said, according to reports. The children, she added, "behaved in the way we had practiced."

Monterrey, a prosperous industrial hub, has seen a wave of drug-related violence as the Gulf and Zeta cartels battle over human- and drug-smuggling routes into the United States. The turf war has led to daylight shootouts on busy streets, attacks on bars and nightclubs, and "narco blockades" that have left residents terrified.

Shortly after the shootout, Rivera posted on Twitter: "It was very bad, my little ones in the kindergarten were very scared, and I was too! ENOUGH OF THIS!"

Other posters on blogs and social-networking sites have pointed to the clip as another example of the drug war's traumatizing effects on ordinary citizens. One man said on Twitter: "Regarding the prize for the teacher, I think that's good, but I am left asking: How many anonymous heroes do we have who are not filmed on video?"

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Video: YouTube via Regioblogs

Comments () | Archives (36)

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Kids like that are getting killed all the time. It's time to legalize drugs and end this horror.

Those bastards. What a shame the men of Mexico are to their country. Who still loves the children?

Monterrey used to be a very safe place, and im talking still 2008.
The big news aired on television were a girl driving drunk caught by the police cause she said funny stuff,
a weird object flying over the mountains, some thought a witch.
and the drastic climate changes. For years the biggest assassin was a boy that killed his girlfriend.
And we were very scared of that.

So overall if you worked hard, you would get the money you needed.
If you laboured on an institution, you would probably be retired with sufficient salary.
Bad neighbourhoods were already pointed, and if something bad happened to you,
it would be your problem cause you already knew there was no security there, but anyway,
it would be aired on TV, cause normally there were no big news.

Now im telling you, half of the cars my street are already stolen.
We all know someone being kidnapped or shot.
We dont enjoy anymore fireworks, cause everytime we hear some,
we go on twitter asking if those were gunshots.
Everytime there's a traffic jam, you pray its not some crazy gunshot,
or people taking buses and parking them in the middle of the street to frighten people and steal their stuff.

So I'm sorry for all the mexicans you dont want in your country.
I'm sorry if poor people believed going to your country would make them happier or richer.
I'm sorry if you hate mexicans cause they never tried to learn your language, or to integrate.
I'm sorry if most of the mexicans that go to your country are fat or ugly.

Cause believe me, many of us, don't want to live in your country.
we just want to go shopping, go to a concert, visit a friend, or see the statue of liberty.
But that's all! Stop being so selfish and racist.

Cause we got an amazing culture, music, food, values, traditions.
Our beaches and landscapes are very beautiful.
We are proud of being mexicans, we are not ashamed of being mexicans.

This is the result of our former apathy, bad politician movements, the drug consumption, the huge difference between poor and rich people.
with the help of all those weapons that illegally entered to our territory.

Today they found the head of a 25 year old girl inside a taxi. She will remain anonymous forever.

The idea of having such a horrible death, cause none of us are inmune to this,
cause it doens't matter anymore if youre poor, rich, drug dealer, civil, cop, or a kid.

Makes our future so awful.

Ok, so the world smokes a naturally grown product that goes under no manipulation and it's our fault? Ha! The number is 555. Five hundred and fifty five politicians created this problem. They decided to sell Americans out to the Hurst family and DuPont family about 100 years ago and made a naturally grown product called HEMP illegal. All so that the Hurst family could make money off of forests and the DuPont's could make money off of synthetic products. Wake up, I mean really WAKE UP! This has nothing to do with a naturally occurring product on this seed bearing earth. It has to do with evil corrupt politicians who sold out our Democracy for food money. The drug cartels are no different than our politicians. The Politicians just wage a non-verbal war on us. And We get duped into believing, yup them damn Mexicans.

And, when will AMERICAN drug users and other consumers of drugs see that their drug addictions are harming innocent victims of drug smuggling violence?

How can you sleep at night knowing what you know?

I can't sleep thinking of these people constantly invading our country and constantly coming up with reasons we owe them. Ugly Americans - drug users; Mexicans - murderous drug producers. But, it is our fault if we are not hispanic.

Coming to your neighborhood with the compliments of La Raza and the current Administration.

Some of you seem to be completely incapable of thinking independently. Drugs are not the problem, drug prohibition is the source of our woes. Educate, don't incarcerate. Why is it not obvious to everyone that when there is a problem with drug abuse that a doctor should be involved, not the police?

And to the anti-"potheads," cannabis (aka marijuana) is far safer than alcohol. It's time for you knuckleheads to face that fact and quit with your bold-faced hypocrisy.

"seal the border please...we live next door to afghanistan"

1. You're an idiot.
3. The Pilgrim "Settlers" and the Indians

You are right FJ. It is not all our country's fault. I haven't been fair. But take Mexico, or any country whose population has many poor and uneducated people, and with enough money one can corrupt even the Canadians (or the Swiss if you prefer). I will give you this ... Latin American countries in general have not shined for having high ethical standards, particularly their governments. But how much of this is a result of the economic situation they've had to endure for ages?

I have to appologize for having bitched so much about the USA, but as much as I love this country many times I have not been proud of the way our leaders or just every-day people handle things when it has to do with the rest of the world. I have been lucky to travel quite a bit and see things with a different point of view. I have had long talks with people from Europe, South America, India, Japan, and yes Mexico. Let me tell you, if there is a consensus among all of these (including Australians and English) it is that they don't see us at all as the saviours of the planet and defenders of the weak we like to think we are. (I can already hear some close minded, extremely conservative, ignorants saying "IT'S BECAUSE THEY ENVY US". Oh, please.)

Wow, this conversation is certainly taking an odd turn, starting from the brave and caring act of a teacher towards her class.

Without a doubt, when something horrific happens in other countries, ignorant Americans, undoubtedly white people, have to say something like, "they deserve it!", "America is #1" or some other stupid comments that have no merit or are relevant to the situation.

Wasntmedude is the perfect example on why the majority of the world hates our country. And as much as I don't want to rag on FJ cause at least they are trying to make a point with what they believe are valid reasons.... let's break it down:

Jay/FJ: DUH, of course it's a third world country. It's corrupt. If anyone tries to do or say anything about it, you die. So yes, America rocks cause we have free speech! And to be clear, Mexico could be like a Canada, but corruption and greed will never give the average citizen the chance at a free education like we American's have a right to. (Yet you still have your white girls-like other races-getting pregnant or working some low income job. That or they can be featured on MTV's Teen Mom- gotta capitalize on that market somehow right?) However, let's be clear, Mexico has the resources, agriculture, business know how and technology platforms to be a super power. If you think corruption can be fixed, go try to change ish at Rampart LAPD.

Russell: You're the man! However, my opinion is that the world will always use drugs. I don't see this problem going away anytime soon. I bet all of us know at least one person who uses.

ThinkAbout: Hilarious, and so true! Australia and New Zealand are cool like Canada, they keep to themselves, they're smart. I know some Aussies and they are not impressed with us "Dumb" Americans. Everyone's got a stereotype =)

Joe: America will never get to that point. We have real law enforcement. Some are pigs, but they enforce the law. You call a cop in Mexico, he's probably the same dude that robbed your house.

Dion: I'm gonna have to say.. inappropriate but hella hilarious!

I have to go back to Wasntmedude. Everything you wrote can apply to another country, including our own and all races. Therefore your argument sucks. If you were even in a Jr. High school debate you would lose. Sorry but F! (That means Fail, just in case you never made it PAST Jr. High)

JoJo: The US has tried. We can land on the moon, but they can't protect the borders. Please think about this one. I think the US wants cheap labor. Just sayin'

Ricardo: So I'm 50/50 on your comment. I would say... yes! Help shut down these drug/gang wars! But then I think... this is why the world hates the US, cause they butt in for everything, and the last thing I want to hear is some moron on here saying that now the US is even paying to fix Mexico's mess.

And let's not get it twisted. Socorro is right. You don't think the US has a hand in all this. We're right next door for Christ's sake. We're America, we're #1 and perfect remember!? You don't think government has an eye of what drugs go in and out of this country?

Jake: You seem to like conspiracy theories. You're skeptical a teacher in Mexico could have a cell phone with video? Shoot, I don't blame you, I don't think teachers HERE can afford a phone w/video the way they get paid! But to get back on track...

Consumption at all levels in the US is crazy high compared to other countries. Maybe cause we can afford it, maybe because per capita we are just that ginormous... also probably because here drugs aren't just in poverty stricken communities, but in your local politician's to his country club membership and keys to his Aston Martin.

Anyway that was my rant, I'm sure I'll have some ignorant punk comment. -Just educate yourselves before you speak! =) Back to work. In the end... just think of the kids!! lol. (this applies to almost any story/scenario). This video is just a snapshot of craziness that happens all over the world. It could be down the street or 3049 miles away, either way, please have compassion. It makes you human.

I hope she doesn't get hurt, by the cartels, over the the publicity her story is garnering.

FJ - Guess what? Canada love drugs as much as we do here in the States. Try going to Vancouver and you'll find a lot more pot-heads than in Venice Beach. And you're ridiculous by trying to compare Canada to Mexico. One is a supplier and the other is a consumer. One cannot exist without the other.

If the demand goes away, the supplier goes away. Fact is, we love drugs. We take drugs to fix everything that is wrong with use. We even drug our kids to stop them from acting like... kids. We take drugs to get an erection for heavens sake. We're the biggest consumers of illegal drugs on the entire planet.

And yet you, FJ, are trying to minimize that fact. Trying to avoid the blame that is partly ours as well. You're no better than the violent and illeterate drug dealers you spew hate on.

I agree that Mexico should legalize drugs and push as much as they can our way. Not only will that fix their violence problem, but it will force the feds to finaly do something serious about that laughable 'war on drugs' that Ronal Reagan started back in the 80's.

Russell - I don't think it's fair to blame Americans for all the violence. You say the demand for drugs in the US created the violent drug culture in Mexico, as they are conveniently located next to us. Well what about Canada? They are also immediate neighbors but we don't see Canadian drug dealers inundating our beatiful country with drugs. Why is one neighbor prosperous and responsible, while the other is violent and largely illiterate?

It's time Mexicans take control of their own destiny instead of blaming their woes on everyone else.

To wasntmedude,
New Zealand is probably say the say think about you and your children. Oh oh! Here come them dumb,liberal,selfish Americans ready to reck OUR COUNTRY!

I am so amazed at hearing some fellow American citizens being so quick at laying down how scary it is to live close to those savage Mexicans. Are you idiots or what? Have you given this some thought or are you one of those "USA all the way" air heads? Do you think the people in Mexico want this? Of course not!! And why do you imagine this is happening? Because WE AMERICANS are financing it! Who do you think these criminals are selling their drugs to? And what to you think they do with the money they get paid for it? If anything, Mexicans are the ones who should be sorry they live next to us and our large population of pot-heads. Where do you think the Mexican criminals are getting all their weapons? For God's sake open your eyes! The Mexican cartels are fighting over the control to the smuggling routes ... as in smuggling to the USA my friends. And they do that because we pay them to do it with our drug consumption. If anything, the Mexican people are victims to all this madness. I think their authorities should simply stop fighting the cartels and let them move any drugs they want through their territory. This would stop the violence. Of course, all this drug trafficking would head to the USA, but why should they be protecting our interests if we don't? That would leave us Americans to deal with the issue of drug consumption. The end of this is very simple, the USA stops consuming drugs, there is no more market incentive for producing and smuggling them. The end.

jake: almost any cell phone bought today has a built-in video camera

Jake: everyone has a phone with camera.

Mèxico siempre a sido un pais de total inseguridad.
Aplaudo a la maestra que con su valentia pudo distraer a los ninos de la tragedia que estaba sucediendo afuera, y eso es todo los dias y en cualquier parte del pais de Mèxico !!! YA BASTA

What a remarkable woman. A previous commenter is right. How many more are there like her?

That's why was there a camera in the classroom?

We overuse the term "hero" these days, applying the term to someone who plays well in a baseball or football game, for example, but in this case, hero is exactly the right term: thinking of others even while being scared for one's own safety. I hope she gets prizes from many groups. I wonder how many of the families in Monterrey would like to leave, but cannot.

A good chunk of the blame for these "shootouts", killings, hits, murders goes to the American "Casual" user of the illegal drugs theat the cartels provide. It is the cash money from the "casual user that provides these evil cartels south of the border with all their cowardly backbone, guns, ammo and the power to put Mexico and other central American nations in so much trouble. These cartels get their marching orders from the American user of drugs. So, how come the liberal mainstream media is not condeming the user? Why is the user getting a free ride on this crime against humanity? By looking the other way all you "reporters", "journalists" and "Op eds" are in cahoots with the user and the cartels. You are condoning these crimes with your silence. Could it be that too many of you in the media are users too?

How come a country just celebrated their bicentenary freedon aniversary ,and their people are living under a war still but the worst one in the world, where there is not a win for the citizens, freedom and good being just plain killing because of greed and low lifes animals who are taking over this beautifull country where inocent kids have to live like this, worst than the middle east. I take my hat over this out of this world first class citizen teacher, and shame in the people who uses drugs that makes feel numb and dumb for a few minutes and foments this free market of pain and destruccion, the price is too high for the inocents like this kids.

Teachers work harder than you, almost no matter what you do.

The future of America.

Wow! what a great teacher. God bless her soul and may she live to be always happy. The drug lords and their minions have lost all sensitivity and are not human beings anymore. I hope they will be struck by lightening if the Mexican army doesn't get them first.

What did they sing? I SHOT THE SHERIFF - but I did not shoot the deputy...

This just proves Mexico is a third world country.

Very sad, that Mexico is going thru something very horrible...something that has no words to describe. Next time you smoke marijuana, take a line of cocaine, smoke crack or any drug and think your tough and bad when listening to your narco-corridos. Take a look on who and what is and are being effected. PEOPLE!!!!! WAKE UP!!!!!!

Mexico truly needs help from its neighbor with this one.

Mexico is a failed stated. This brave, heroic woman is now almost certain to be murdered by the narco-terrorists.

seal the border please...we live next door to afghanistan

Mexico: Fail.

Very sad that in most countries there are drills for earthquakes while in Mexico there are drills for gang shootings.

And people wonder why we don't want Mexicans coming up here anymore. Not that it matters, it's a done deal, this is their country now, and we can expect a future for our kids that is filled with drug gangs butchering eachother and whoever happens to be standing by, kidnappers and rapists in every neighborhood, filthy, polluted cities and corrupt officials. I am moving to New Zealand, and making a home for my kids so they don't have to watch what these vermin will do to our once beautiful nation

What tremendous act of courage the teacher displayed during a pitiful act of street violence. Again, a dare anyone to walk in the shoes of any teacher near or far away and display the enormous professionalism of protecting and calming students. Enough is Enough! When will Mexico people, church officials, and politicians rise above all of this and STOP the VIOLENCE!

And, when will AMERICAN drug users and other consumers of drugs see that their drug addictions are harming innocent victims of drug smuggling violence?

How can you sleep at night knowing what you know?


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Ken Ellingwood
Daniel Hernandez
Efrain Hernandez Jr.
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