NewsOK: Oklahoma City News, Sports, Weather & Entertainment

Pit bull terrier bites children at Fillmore Elementary School

A dozen children were injured when a pit bull terrier attacked them Monday afternoon at Fillmore Elementary School.

The dog ran into the school's playground during 3rd and 4th grade recess, school officials said Monday afternoon. It chased students on the playground, then tried to go into the school building, where a teacher tackled the dog.

Special education teacher Lee Hughes wrestled the dog to the floor and held it there until Oklahoma City police officers arrived and took it to a patrol car.

"He's our hero," said Susan Martin Rachels, principal at Fillmore.

But Hughes rejected that label, saying he was thankful for a police officer who came to help him hold the dog down until other officers arrived.

"Everybody just did what they were supposed to do," Hughes said.

School officials said 28 children and three teachers were on the playground at about 12:40 p.m. Monday when the dog attacked. The attack went on for about five minutes before Hughes caught the dog, Rachels said.

District officials don't know who owns the dog, but Rachels said it wasn't familiar to the school's faculty and staff.

Students suffered superficial dog bite wounds and injuries they suffered while running away. None were critically injured, and no teachers reported injuries.

Paramedics took five children to Children's Hospital in non-emergency status, said Lara O'Leary, a spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services Authority. Another seven children left the school with their parents, she said.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Tim Coleman, director of security for the school district, said the district is investigating how the dog was able to get to the playground. It's possible that gates to the playground were left open, Coleman said.

Rachels said the school would review its protocols in the coming days to assess how well teachers responded to the incident.

Oklahoma City schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel praised Hughes, saying the attack could have been far worse if he hadn't caught the dog.

“We are really grateful for Mr. Hughes and his commitment to our kids," McDaniel said.

Related Photos
<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - " title=""><figcaption></figcaption></figure>
Silas Allen

Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri. Read more ›