Mid-Del and Choctaw communities unite following tragedy
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Mid-Del students and staff returned to school Monday following a fatal shooting at a football game.
A 16-year-old Midwest City High School student was killed, and two others were injured during a shooting Friday night during a Del City – Choctaw football game at Choctaw High School.
Superintendent Rick Cobb said the past few days have been horrible as the Mid-Del community grieves the loss of a student and copes with the awful event.
“A student was killed and that’s the biggest thing to remember and it’s tragic and senseless,” Cobb said. “At the same time, so many of our Del City kids, staff and community witnessed it.”
Many of the Del City students who witnessed the shooting were not able to make it home until nearly 2 a.m.
Del City football coach Robert Jones said he told his players that they need to focus on things that they can control and heal together.
“We can’t let this senseless act of violence divide us,” he said. “We need to let it bring us together and unite. It’s okay to be scared and to not feel safe.”
Jones emphasized that football is on the backburner and the priority is healing and dealing with emotional stress.
“If they need time to heal, I told them to take that time. Football is secondary to the healing process,” he said.
Jones also believed creating a sense of normalcy will help.
District officials closed school campuses to visitors this week to provide an additional level of support for students and staff. Superintendent Rick Cobb said the district has not received any threats but planned to have a stronger police presence around the district this week.
Mid-Del enacted their Crisis Response Plan to support students and staff across the district. Additional grief counselors are also available.
Cobb expressed unity with Choctaw-Nicoma Park Schools. He said the neighboring school districts are competitive in many aspects but share a lot of connections as well.
“This didn’t happen at a school that is two counties over, it happened at a school with which we share a lot of common people,” he said. “They’re part of a large community as well. When people in Choctaw are hurting, we’re hurting too.”
Cobb said they will continue to play football games and other events.
“I think it’s important for the Del City community – after what happened Friday night – to have a football game in our stadium and to show people that we got this,” Cobb said. “And at the same time we have a football game Friday night at Midwest City and it’s going to be a good opportunity to show people that we got this and everything is going to be alright.”
The district rolled out a new weapon detection system that will be used at all Mid-Del home football and basketball games as well as other large public events. The new system was used for the first time during Carl Albert’s first home football game Friday night against Coweta.
Andy Collier, executive director of athletics and student activities, says the district has many procedures and policies to ensure safety at athletic events. He said the new weapon detector system enhances that safety.