Third- and fourth-graders were playing after lunch in an elementary school playground in Oklahoma City Monday afternoon when a loose pit bull wandered in and attacked, the school’s principal said at a news conference.
As the children ran away, the loose dog started biting, KFOR reported. There were 28 children and three teachers on the playground at the time of the attack, said Susan Martin Rachels, principal of Fillmore Elementary. .
The brown and white pit bull got onto school property just after 12:30 p.m. Monday, according to KWTV. It chased and attacked the children for about five minutes, biting several of them, before the dog then tried to get inside the school building, the station reported.
That’s when a special education teacher stopped the dog from getting to any more children, Rachels said. Teacher Lee Hughes threw himself on top of the pit bull in a school hallway, subduing the dog until animal control officers arrived, according to the Oklahoman.
“He’s our hero,” Rachels said during the news conference. “We’re going to have to have a ‘Lee Hughes Day’ or something at school.”
Paramedics took five children from the school to a local hospital, and parents opted to take another seven children to the hospital after the attack, KOCO reported.
None of the injuries were critical, KFOR reported. Authorities described them as “superficial” or “escape injuries,” the station said.
The dog had little problem getting onto school property, as several gates had been left open, said Tim Coleman, director of security at Oklahoma City Public Schools, during the news conference.
“There were some gates that were open,” Coleman said. “We’re looking into that. That’s a problem we’re looking at across the district, not just at Fillmore, to make sure those gates are secured.”
It was not clear Tuesday who owned the dog. The school is tucked into a residential neighborhood on the south side of Oklahoma City.