Thursday, April 2nd 2020, 8:22 am
By: Brian Dorman
Last year in the United States there were more mass shootings than days; and, according to CBS News there were 417 mass shootings to be exact.
There were 25 school shootings with 8 people killed and 42 people injured.
17 were killed in the Parkland, Florida mass shooting and 10 were killed in Santa Fe, Texas.
Angelic Peetoom and Tammy Russell are both parents. And they are both concerned.
“It’s disgusting; it’s ridiculous. It is shocking because we live in such an amazing community” Angelic said.
Tammy Russell shared her worry and fear.
“Even though nothing happened, it’s scary to hear that there were actually in the parking lot with weapons” Tammy shared.
And school threats have happened here at home, here in Oklahoma.
These school threats are concerning. News On 6 has reported on 27 threats in the 2019-2020 school year, but law enforcement has said the number is much higher.
Representative Randy Randleman said it is only a matter of time before there’s a school shooting in Oklahoma if we don’t get help to kids when they are younger.
“We never know what trauma is going to do to a child’s mind” Representative Randleman said. “[and] I think it’s a hug problem.”
The freshman lawmaker is the first licensed psychologist at the state capitol, and he has been tasked with addressing school threats statewide.
“I think it will keep getting worse unless we get those interventions we want in the lower elementary” Randleman explained.
Tulsa County had the most school threats, seven in total. But threats happened throughout northeastern Oklahoma. Rogers, Osage, Washington, Creek, Muskogee, Wagoner, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, and Pawnee counties all had school threats.
And it was in Pawnee County where a school bus driver overheard 18-year-old Dalton Mitchell threaten to bring a gun to school to shoot and kill his principal, Stacey Womack.
Pawnee High School Principal Stacey Womack recalled what happened when the bus driver overheard Mitchell make that threat.
“He pulled the bus over immediately; he didn’t wait, and I am definitely grateful for him being concerned and alarmed enough to stop and immediately make that phone call” Womack said. “Time is of the essence in a situation like that, and I feel like our bus driver did exactly what he needed to do.”
Womack said she couldn’t believe the threat came from a student she knew quite well.
“I had talked to him on other occasions.” Womack said. “ I had talked to him the previous week—just passing in the hall. There was never anything on my radar that would have alerted me to be even remotely concerned about him being a potential threat.”
Womack has asked herself multiple times what could have upset Mitchell.
“I’ve asked myself many times ‘how could the conversation we had be something upsetting, or that was even remotely upsetting?’ I honestly don’t know” Womack reflected.
Only hours after learning that a student threatened to shoot and kill her, Womack said she was most worried about the safety of her students.
“My concern was [that] I have 180 kids, and people trust me to take care of them. How am I going to keep them safe?” Womack remembered. “It probably wasn’t until two days later that the gravity of the situation had an impact on me.”
Womack explained that it was eye opening that this type of threat could happen in a beautiful small town in Oklahoma.
“It is eye opening to think that we’re not immune; we’re not exempt from those same possibilities” Womack said.
Not only did it impact Womack, it impacted her family.
Everyone worried for her safety, and she admitted there are still times when she looks over her shoulder.
“I’m not going to walk around in fear. I don’t feel like that would be conductive or beneficial to my staff, to my kids, to this community.” Womack stated. “I have a job to do. I will continue to do my job.”
Another high-profile case happened in Pittsburg County were police said 18-year-old Alexis Wilson threatened to shoot-up McAlester High School. Wilson told a co-worker she wanted to shoot 400 people for fun. The threat was so alarming that it made national news.
Investigators told News On 6 that Wilson had an AK-47 with six magazines, 160 rounds of ammo, and a 12-gauge shotgun with a stock sleeve for extra shells.
Throughout the school year, the threats in Oklahoma continued.
A 14-year-old threatened violence against other students at Oologah-Talala schools on Snapchat.
Then, a 19-year-old threatened to blow-up a school in Bartlesville to kill everyone inside.
A 13-year-old is accused of making a hit-list at Holland Hall Middle School.
And Tulsa Police took 6 students into custody for posting a social media threat against Central High.
In all, News On 6 tracked nearly 30 threats across Oklahoma before Spring Break.
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