Buena Park Middle School

Start Date: 2021-09-07

Description: We were asked to cover both the School District Office and the Middle School following a shooting incident last Friday afternoon where and gunman shot a a school bus at the Middle School, no one was injured but police chased the suspect and shot him on the District office property. Both the district office and the middle school were on lock down and all could hear the gunfire taking place thus traumatizing the employees of the district and the students and staff of the middle school. Tuesday was their first day back after the incident and the Labor Day weekend. Steve covered the District office and I covered the Middle school. We were first stationed at the "Wellness Room" however there was a very distraught teacher in that room with a counselor and when the students began to come to the door I decided it was best for Robby and I to leave that room to give the teacher privacy and be available to the students on a bench nearby the entrance to the Room. Several teacher or teacher aides came by bringing students who needed extra comfort and both students, teachers, aides, staff of all sorts would stop for a little love and pets. At one point a group of special needs students were brought to me and one of the counselors whispered in my ear that one of the girls in the group used a staff bathroom located in the nurses office rather that the student restroom. She happened to be using the restroom when the shots were fired and she was in that bathroom by herself and was quite traumatized, hence this first day back at school she refused to use the restroom. They asked if Robby and I could walk with her to the restroom to ease her anxiety. I let her hold onto Robby's leash with me and she was quite happy about that and walking with him and I and the counselor. We did not mention where we were going just that we were walking Robby. She was able to enter the admin building and sit on a chair just outside the nurses office and then after a short time she went inside the nurses office and sat on the bed where the counselor took her picture on a phone with Robby and said they would show it to her mother. She seemed quite content and happy but still would not enter the bathroom. At least it got her that far successfully so hopefully later in the day she would be able to enter the restroom. For Robby and I it was a pleasure for us to assist with the very specific need, seeing the school and the counselors using us in a very appropriate way. I felt the staff got a lot out of having a dog on campus, several of them thanked me profusely and several said they wished they had a dog on campus all the time. A few other girls spent quite a lot of time just sitting and petting Robby while we were on the bench outside the wellness room. Then it got sunny and they briefly moved us to a shady spot by the admin building and just as we settled there they said the Wellness Room could be used again. As we settled in the Wellness Room it was recess and the room filled to capacity with students wanting to get snacks and pet the dog. I quickly scanned for a spot where Robby and I did not feel completely engulfed and put my chair against the wall with Robby beside me and there was an open area of carpeting there, I asked the kids to step back a ways and then when 6 or 7 kids would pet him I would ask them to step away and some of the others have a turn. This seemed to work out pretty well and luckily only for about 10 minutes before they needed to return to class, then 2 girls came in and sat on the floor with him for a long time just petting him very quietly. One of the CRN counselors came over to talk to them and it turns out their anxiety was unrelated to the shooting incident but rather something in their classes. I had to excuse myself at 10:30 because I had an appointment I needed to keep but everything was pretty quiet when I left. I felt that the dog was very appreciated by everyone we came in contact with and we were able to relieve some anxiety in the students.

Agency: OCDE Crisis Response Network
Teams: None at the Middle school but Steve Booth and Henry were next door at the Buena Park School district Administrative Offices