The damage had already been done, but this special education teacher is the reason why more children weren’t hurt in the Nov. 17 pit bull attack at Fillmore Elementary School in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City police released bodycam footage to McClatchy on Tuesday of the aftermath of the attack that started at the school playground during third- and fourth-grade recess and ended in a hallway with Lee Hughes holding the dog down.
It had wandered into the playground from a nearby neighborhood, likely through a gate that had been left open, school district director of security Tim Coleman said at a news conference after the attack.
The video shows teachers hurrying students either outside the building or into classrooms while Hughes lays on top of the brown-and-white pit bull in a school hallway. Sgt. Jesse McRay helps Hughes subdue the dog while animal control officers put a leash around the dog’s neck.
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McRay can be heard asking him if he is a teacher. Hughes responds, “yes,” he is.
“Well,” McRay says. “You just saved someone.”
At a news conference after the dog was taken from the school, principal Susan Martin Rachels called Hughes “our hero.”
“We’re going to have to have a ‘Lee Hughes Day’ or something at school,” she said.
Five children were taken to a local hospital from the scene of the attack, most with either “superficial” or “escape” injuries, officials said, according to KFOR. None of the injuries were considered critical.
Parents opted to take seven more children to hospitals out of precaution.
The dog is still being held by Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, according to KFOR, and will be until at least Nov. 29. No owners have been identified.
What Animal Welfare decides to do with the pit bull will be determined by the agency’s ongoing investigation into the incident.