Unannounced intruder drill at Buna Elementary ‘could have been a disaster’

Officer Mike Henderson
Officer Mike Henderson(Steve W. Stewart/KJAS)
Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 6:25 PM CDT
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BUNA, Texas (KLTV) - An unplanned, unannounced active shooter drill could have ended in disaster, the superintendent of schools said.

Dr. Donny Lee said that on Tuesday morning, Buna ISD Officer Mark McKinley told his fairly new co-worker Officer Mike Henderson to wear camouflage clothing to school. The two were planning to do an intruder drill at Buna Elementary School; however, Lee says they did not communicate their intention to anyone at the school district or anyone in law enforcement.

“No one knew but the two officers,” Lee said.

Some of the school children were on the playground with teachers, who spotted a man in camouflage attempting to break in the outside doors. Not knowing it was the school resource officers, they immediately went into intruder protocol, Lee said. They blew their whistles, got the students into their classrooms, into their cubbies, and locked the doors. The school went into full lockdown. The principal called 911, Lee said, commending the teachers and staff on their perfect response to the situation.

The Jasper County Sheriff serves the community of Buna. Several sheriff’s office vehicles raced to the scene, at speeds up to 140 miles per hour, the sheriff told Lee, as they believed they were responding to an actual intruder on campus.

With weapons drawn they approached the school and the men in camouflage, then realized it was the two school police officers.

“It could have been a disaster. Much worse could have happened,” Lee said. “The teachers responded perfectly to the situation. But it should not have happened.”

When asked whether the school police officers will be disciplined in any way, he could not share the details of the personnel issue. However, he did say that “it will be handled promptly and effectively. It will also be discussed at our next school board meeting.”

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