By FRED KRONER
In early May, Jason Seaman was one of about 150 faculty members at Noblesville (Ind.) West Middle School.
At a school with an enrollment of 1,400 students for the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades, he is a seventh-grade science teacher and an eighth-grade football coach.
By the end of May, he was nationally recognized as the person who prevented an undetermined number of casualties by tackling a teen-aged shooter who had entered his classroom on the morning of May 25.
One female student was shot seven times and Seaman took three bullets.
He was subsequently the subject of a tweet from the President of the United States.
He received a tribute at the Indianapolis 500.
As summer progressed, he was asked to throw out the first pitch at a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game and will do so again next month (Sept. 16) at a Chicago Cubs home game.
He will serve as Grand Marshal at the homecoming parade at his collegiate alma mater, Southern Illinois University, on the weekend of Oct. 20. The Chicago Bears have invited him to be a Guest of Honor at a home game this season.
Next Friday (Aug. 31) prior to the season’s first home high school football game at Mahomet-Seymour, Seaman will be honored in a pre-game ceremony shortly after 7 p.m.
A seventh-year teacher — and fifth year at Noblesville — Seaman is taken back by the adulation and notoriety.
“All the attention was surreal because still to this day I am not anyone special,” he said. “I did what I thought needed to be done in the moment. My students needed help and I had to help them.”
Like teachers throughout America, Seaman had gone through training, not knowing if he would ever need to use the tactics that were taught.
“As a teacher, the safety of my students is a top priority both physically and mentally, so I have always taken the trainings seriously and made sure my students are in the best care possible,” Seaman said.
“Part of being prepared is running through mental simulations and I do that with everything I do, it is a great aspect of sports that has carried into my everyday life.”
While at M-S, Seaman was a three-sport athlete who excelled in football and track, which he sandwiched around basketball. He still holds the school record for the shot put (60 feet, 8 inches).
As a senior, he was selected as The News-Gazette Area Athlete of the Year.
Attention to detail was something that was emphasized to him in sports as well as at home.
Seaman never looked at the teacher training time required at Noblesville as a waste.
“I have done ALICE training ever since being hired at Noblesville and went through the training as a part of new teacher orientation,” he said. “If you take training seriously, the reaction will come naturally.”
His parents, Mahomet’s Kristi and Bob Seaman, had some questions answered as they learned about their son’s heroics.
“As a child, Jason was always more perceptive than most kids his age,” Kristi Seaman said. “He never was much of a conversationalist — still isn’t — but he always watched people and observed them.
“The frustrating part as a parent was the fact that he never looked like he was paying attention or listening. As he’s gotten older and I watch him as an adult and now as a parent, I realize that he was listening to his dad and myself. We’ve always tried to teach both of our boys that you have to work hard to get the things that you want.”
The impact of Jason’s actions — and reactions — didn’t hit his mother immediately.
“I don’t believe I realized the full magnitude of the situation until I put myself in the position of being a parent of a child in his classroom,” Kristi Seaman said. “I think that’s when it really hit home for me.
“Obviously, the shooter was ready to cause massive harm, and the fact that Jason prevented that is almost too much to comprehend.”
Jason Seaman was credited with preventing more bloodshed by tackling the student shooter and knocking the gun away.
While he has been in the spotlight, Jason Seaman said he wasn’t the only person who contributed to a positive outcome in the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School.
“All staff members are trained for these types of events and I have heard nothing but amazing stories of how fellow staff members acted that day,” he said.
Besides his parents, Jason Seaman had a role model during his years at M-S.
“Steve Kreps showed me the joy in teaching and the power of positive influence that a teacher can have on young people,” Jason Seaman said.
Kreps retired as an assistant football coach with the Bulldogs after the 2017 season.
Kristi Seaman said she and her husband still feel a number of emotions more than 90 days after the incident.
“Pride, thankfulness, gratitude, helplessness,” she listed. “I’ve always known it could happen — school shootings are unfortunately all too common nowadays — but you just don’t think that it will happen in your corner of the world.
“It’s not something I dwell on though. I put my faith in God and know that He will sustain me in all circumstances.”
Another upcoming tribute is that a section of the Mahomet street near where he grew up (the intersection of Oak and Walnut) will be named in his honor by the village. The designation will take place next Friday and the recognition will last five years.
Jason Seaman said he had no difficulty in returning to the building and the classroom where the shooting occurred.
“I went back to my room a week later and it was a non-issue,” he said. “When students came back, it was great to be able to get back to work.”
Interestingly, the day after the shooting, he went from being the only 60-foot shot putter in M-S history to one of two in that exclusive club.
Sophomore Hunter Hendershot, on his way to a Class 2A state title, eclipsed the mark and landed a 60-3 1/4 mark.
Jason Seaman, a 2007 M-S graduate, doesn’t expect to stay No. 1 at M-S for much longer.
“I have been kept up to date with Hunter and the shot put record,” Jason Seaman said. “I am happy for his success and hope he continues to improve and wins consecutive state titles.
“It is great for Mahomet to have success stories like that and bring good publicity to the school and the area. I wish him nothing but the best.
“I’ve had that record long enough and have no doubt he will take it early next season and continue to add to it.”
Even if he loses his status atop the athletic board, 29-year-old Jason Seaman won’t soon be forgotten in his hometown, the community where he and his brother, Jeremy, were raised and had paper routes in their younger years.
Mom and Dad can rest easy knowing their voices and influences were heard.
“Both (sons) had jobs in high school that enabled them to purchase their own cars,” Kristi Seaman said. “We’ve tried to teach them that actions are more important than words.
“Before games, I always told him to have fun and to let his play do the talking for him. We’ve tried to raise them to make God and their families a priority and I believe we’ve succeeded.
“It’s very satisfying to see both of them successful in their lives and we’re very proud of the men that they have become.”
More than one community echoes those sentiments as well.