PITTSBURG COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma mom’s Tik Tok video preparing her son in case of an armed school intruder and how to use his bulletproof insert backpack has gone viral.
The video was posted one week ago, just before Cassie Walton’s five-year-old son began kindergarten last Thursday. It has since been viewed over seven million times and has 1.3 million likes.
Walton told KFOR she has lived through seeing the affects of the Columbine shooting in 1999, the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, the Parkland shooting in 2017, and the most recent being the Uvalde shooting on May 24. She wanted to make sure he knew what to do in case he is in a similar situation.
According to NBC News, the Uvalde shooting was the 27th mass school shooting in the U.S. this year.
A 2021 active shooter comprehensive reporter by the FBI reports a 98.6% increase in active shooter incidents over the past four years.
Walton said after the Uvalde shooing happened, her son posed a variety of questions to her. “Could that happen at my school? Why did he do that? How did he get in there?,” asked her son, according to Walton.
Walton said her son’s school security is top notch, so she’s not concerned something like those would happen, but that it’s better to have the knowledge than to not.
In the video, Walton tells her son, “The teacher calls over the intercom, says this is not a drill, everybody go in the corner and be really quiet and still. What do you do?”
Walton’s son runs to the corner and sits on the floor.
Walton then tells him to show her how he’ll use his bulletproof backpack. He holds it over top of himself, trying to cover what he can.
If a teacher says he doesn’t need the backpack, Walton told her son to say no and to explain that it’s bulletproof.
Also in the video, Walton teaches her son to not respond if someone calls out and asks if anyone is there.
Walton’s Tik Tok is linked here.
Once he is out of the building, Walton tells him to get as far away as possible. “Mom will find you,” she ends the video saying.
“It’s horrifying. During the filming of the video, I was pushing back all of the tears, trying to film it. And even when I was off camera, I was pushing back all of the tears. It is scary and the scariest part is, well, if the parents aren’t allowed in there, who is going to save your babies?,” said Walton.
Walton said she was never looking for fame when she posted the video, that her intent was for it was to be a conversation starter between kids and parents as well as parents and schools.
“It is a little overwhelming,” she explained regarding the attention the video has brought.
But overall, she’s happy with the response as Walton said she has seen her video inspire other parents to do the same.
“I have gotten several messages about parents being inspired to talk to their kids or that their kids know what to do now or to have the conversation with their kids. I think even if you’re not going to do the drills, it’s important to at least have the conversation about that,” stated Walton.
News 4 showed Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris the video in which he said, “It’s unbelievable. But, you know, it’s a shame that we’ve got to train our kids like this these days. But that’s very awesome that a mom is taking that extra step.”
Sheriff Morris said his team has never had to respond to an active school shooter call, but if they were called, they’d be ready.
“We did have active shooter training. We had a two day training a couple of weeks ago. We put bankers, churches and school church personnel through it one day and then law enforcement the next day. It was very good training. And, you know, just in today’s times, you got to be prepared,” Sheriff Morris told KFOR.
The training is yearly, according to Sheriff Morris.
When Sheriff Morris joined law enforcement in 1996, he said he could have never imagined having to go through an annual training on how to respond to a school shooter. “It’s happening more and more,” he said.
Sheriff Morris encourages other parents to take on the same at-home training as Walton’s video. He said his deputies will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn’t get to that point though.
“If it means one of our guys losing their life, which we don’t want that to happen, but our children are more important to us than that, you know, and we took the oath to protect. That’s what we will do,” stated Sheriff Morris.
Sheriff Morris is calling on state officials for more funding, so that they can ensure there is a law enforcement official at every school.
“I think we got eight or nine rural schools that don’t have police departments,” he said.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the state is offering more layers of protection and support to schools across Oklahoma.
“There are those those routine safety drills that do include active shooter drills. We know that the legislature has also prioritized this with millions of dollars every year to work with enhanced technology in order to put into the palm of the hands of school personnel and teachers an ability to connect directly with law enforcement,” Hofmeister added.
Hofmeister told KFOR schools go through “behavioral threat assessments,” so that everyone is thinking early about any threat and how to respond appropriately.
“The other is to have more of a hardened target. That means making the buildings more secure. And this takes vigilance. We know with increased technology, we have extra layers of support available today that we didn’t in the past. But bottom line, we need to all be vigilant, work as a team, and we know that we have a duty and we are working to be partners with law enforcement, partners with even other agencies related to mental health, related to the kinds of support that often have early warning signs within students or families that could pose some kind of risk for children in school,” she added.
Walton said she plans to continue this training with both of her sons and even tack on other at-home drills.
Walton asked News 4 to not disclose her son’s school or to share the city in which they live in. She said they are not residents of McAlester, but that’s a city they’re close to and asked that be used instead for location purposes.