MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Last week, Dr. Thomas Bice, Alabama’s superintendent of schools, presented proclamations to each of the students who were on their school bus in January when it was hijacked by a gunman, The Associated Press (AP) reports.
As previously reported, the confrontation between gunman Jimmy Lee Dykes and school bus driver Charles Poland lasted more than four minutes.
Poland stood in the bus' aisle to block Dykes from his students and refused to move. The students opened the rear emergency exit and escaped the bus. Dykes then allegedly shot Poland and abducted now 6-year-old Ethan Gilman, who was sitting at the front of the bus. He was later rescued by FBI agents.
In last Thursday’s ceremony, Bice said the students displayed safety skills that were taught to them by Poland, and he recounted how the students loved Poland, according to AP.
Poland's heroism was also honored by proclamation. A permanent memorial to him has been installed at the Alabama State Department of Education headquarters in Montgomery.
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