WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — It’s been eight months since police say 15-year-old Maurice Evans Jr. shot and killed William Miller Jr. outside a Mount Tabor High School classroom just before lunch.

It was a moment that changed the course of a school year and an entire community.

Sept. 1, 2021, started as a normal school day then in an instant, there was chaos.

“Our assistant principal Ms. Clemmons came running down the hall yelling in her walkie, shots fired, shots fired,” said Laurie Schaefer, an English teacher at Mount Tabor.

She knew instantly this was not a drill.

“This is a time we actually never practice drills because it’s lunch, and we have four lunches and things get chaotic,” she said.

27 years of teaching never prepared her for this.

“I think I froze for a minute,” Schaefer said. “Then I was like ‘wait a minute. What about the bathrooms?’ The bathrooms are right next to my classroom, so I went and looked and made sure in both bathrooms no kids were in there.”

After that, she locked herself and another teacher inside her classroom and pulled down the shades.

Then she heard a small group of students running down the hall banging on doors for someone to let them in.

Schaefer recognized them and opened her door.

“Those children told me they thought they had run into the shooter in the parking lot, which is why they were extra scared, and they had seen him stash his book bag in a trash can in the parking lot,” Schaefer said.

They waited for hours in their classroom, scrolling through social media and wondering how many people were hurt.

She could see police clearing hallways with their guns up sneaking around corners.

When they came in to clear Schaefer’s classroom, their guns were up, and they yelled they were looking for someone in black pants and a black hoodie.

Schaefer and the students told police about seeing the shooter, him asking for a ride off campus and stashing his backpack. Police told the group they hadn’t heard the tip yet.

As they were moved to the auditorium, Schaefer saw something she’ll never forget.

“Our kids love to go outside and eat lunch, which is where many of them were when the lockdown happened. They literally abandoned their lunches, like a bite taken out of a sandwich. It was just like this moment frozen in time,” Schaefer said.

Hundreds of students and dozens of teachers sat in the school’s auditorium for another three hours.

“I sat next to kids in the auditorium who were right there next to the shooting and just needed to talk and cry,” Schaefer said.

The superintendent canceled school the next day. It took some students weeks to return to school. Some haven’t come back.

She never thought twice about returning.

“I love this job,” Schaefer said. “It actually makes me want to be in the classroom more because our students need us to stay and to be with them. We understand because we all went through this together.”

As support poured out from the Mount Tabor community and beyond, she started to wonder what she would teach on Monday.

Then Schaefer got an email with a lesson plan from an English teacher at a high school in Wilmington where a similar shooting happened just weeks before. The lesson had kids design a food truck, something easy and fun to take their minds off of what happened.

“Since then, every time, sadly, I have sent that lesson plan forward, that has been the thing that has helped me, to know that maybe a little something I can share with people going through this,” Schaefer said.

Since that day, she’s sent the lesson plan to seven or eight other schools that experienced violence.

She admits the teachers and students are still not OK. Schaefer sees the trauma and fear to this day in her student’s writing.

“I think that once our students leave here, it will always be a traumatic part of them. What I hope we’re teaching them is how to face that trauma and weave it into strength that they need to move forward,” Schaefer said.

She’s thankful for the continued support from the community but tells FOX8 that every once in a while asking how someone’s doing and showing up for them makes a big difference.

Come to a ball game. Come to a play. Just let these kids know there are people out there that want to see the extraordinary things these kids do,” Schaefer said.

Winston-Salem Forsyth County schools brought in a Greensboro poet recently to help some of the sophomore students process what happened on Sept. 1.

There are conversations happening between teachers and district leaders about creating a program or some kind of curriculum to address how to solve personal problems between students without resorting to violence.