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12 children injured in dog attack at Oklahoma City elementary school

Shawn Paxton/KOKH

OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - 12 children were injured Monday afternoon during a dog attack at Fillmore Elementary School in southwest Oklahoma City.

Officials say 28 third- and fourth-grade students were on the playground for recess when a pit bull mix came in through an open gate.

"Dog came on and started to attack some of the kids, and of course kids began to scream and panic, which excites the dog and scared the dog even more," said Capt. David Macy with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. "His natural instinct was to keep biting and go after the kids."

RELATED: Police release 911 calls reporting dog attack at OKC elementary school

Five students were transported by ambulance to a hospital, and seven others were taken by their parents. None of the injuries were deemed critical. The children suffered superficial dog bites and some escape injuries while running away, according to officials.

The dog was able to get inside the school, but Lee Hughes, a special education teacher, tackled the dog before he reached any classrooms.

"I’m used to being able to do what needs to be done," said Hughes. "It just worked out real well."

No teachers were injured during the attack. The district applauded the teachers and first responders who sprang into action.

"Had we hesitated, had our folks done something different than what we did, than we might be talking about a different result here," said OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDanie.

School officials are reviewing what happened. Parents of children who attend Fillmore Elementary School said the gates to the playground are always left open.

"I think they should follow more protocol, take a walk around before they let the kids out and make sure the gates are secure," said David Landolfi, parent of two students.

Fillmore Elementary is one of many Oklahoma City schools with open playground gates.

"That’s a problem we’re looking at across the district, not just at Fillmore," said Tim Coleman, director of OKCPS security. "Making sure that if we need any resources to make sure those gates are secure... We have plans in place to put welded chains and gates that can’t be cut off on the fences."

Coleman encouraged parents and students with security concerns to call the 24/7 hotline, 587-SAFE.

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