One day after a school bus with 27 children on board plunged into a lake in Odessa, the kids on the bus are now coming to terms with what happened.
Surveillance video provided by a gated community near the site of the crash shows the bus careening toward the gate and guards. The next shots reveal the bus hitting a bar code reader, hitting a tree and making a splash into the pond.
But even though all 27 children on board, and the bus driver, all made it out safe, children and parents are still coming to terms with what happened. When children showed up Friday morning at Mary Bryant Elementary School in Tampa,they were greeted by the district’s Crisis Response Team.
“Young students, six, seven, eight, nine years old, they have difficulty expressing their fears, their anxieties,” said Vito Ricciardi, the Crisis Intervention Team Lead. “Let’s be honest. They went through a fairly traumatic event.”
Crisis Response Teams broke the kids in small groups to talk and process what happened during the crash. Students were asked to bring up any scared feelings they may want to share.
In some cases, younger children were asked to draw their feelings on paper. Some depicted pictures of buses, waves and kids jumping out of bus windows.
“We managed to help assuage those fears and give them some good coping skills as to how to push through,” Ricciardi said.
Karen Bass, principal at Mary Bryant Elementary said the students had a calm day, but there’s more work to be done to help kids process the bus crash.
Many of the kids who were involved in the bus crash did not attend school today. But for those who did, they got extra crisis response team attention.
When other kids involved in the crash return to school, district leaders say those same resources will be available as needed. They will also be available to parents and faculty who have concerns.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough Schools are still investigating the cause of the crash. The bus driver has not been charged with any wrongdoing.