Dog Attack on Playground Leaves 12 Elementary School Students Injured

police sirens
File photo: Police car on the street close up. A dog—reportedly a pit bull terrier—bit a number of children at Fillmore Elementary School after it got loose during the recess of third and fourth graders. iStock

A dozen children were taken to hospital in Oklahoma City on Monday after a dog stormed an elementary school and attacked them in the playground.

Oklahoma City Fire Department told local channel WTAE-TV that the incident happened just before 1 p.m. at Fillmore Elementary School. The dog—reportedly a pit bull terrier—bit a number of the children after it got loose during the recess for third and fourth graders.

A total of nine children were bitten by the rogue dog, KFOR-TV reported. Others suffered smaller injuries while attempting to run away from the area. Five kids were taken to a hospital by ambulance, while seven more were taken to hospital by their parents.

School officials said that none of the injuries sustained had been critical. Officials said there were a total of 28 children and three teachers in the playground at the time of the attack.

They said the dog was able to get inside a hallway of the school but was later pinned down by a special education teacher named Lee Hughes, who held it until police arrived on the scene. According to WTAE-TV, law enforcement was not immediately able to find its owner.

The animal was taken in custody of the Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, local media reported.

Susan Martin Rachels, the principal at Fillmore Elementary, said in a press conference Monday that children had been rushed into nearby classrooms and praised the staff's quick response.

Sean McDaniel, Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent, said: "We are very thankful that our kids are OK. We know there were some stitches probably involved and some injuries, and [the children] probably were afraid for a period of time. We are glad we took action."

He added: "We are really grateful for Mr Hughes and his commitment to our kids and to do the right thing. We think that had he not taken [action] we could have had more serious injuries."

Tim Coleman, director of security for the school district, said an investigation was underway to find out how the dog was able to get into the playground. "We have a lot of gates across the district," he said. "We have plans in place to put wielded chains and gates...on the fences."

Officials acknowledged some gates may have been left open this week and said it was not protocol for teachers to check them before letting the children into the playground. Rachels said that procedures would be reviewed—and potentially improved—in the coming days.

School district officials told reporters that the dog had not previously been familiar to staff.