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Most bus crash victims released from the hospital

Henry School PTA looks to raise money for counseling and other support for victims

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Four students and one teacher from C. W. Henry School in Mt. Airy remain hospitalized after the field trip bus they were riding in yesterday morning was clipped by a car on Interstate 95 in Maryland, causing dozens of injuries.

One student was released from the hospital earlier on Tuesday, according to district officials.

Special education teacher Brittany Jacobs remained in the hospital this week in critical condition.

On Monday evening, the school district released a statement saying that 21 students, one teacher, one parent chaperone, and the bus driver had been released from the hospital. The teacher and one of the students who remain hospitalized were airlifted from the crash with critical injuries.

The crash occurred around 9:30 a.m. Monday, when two eighth-grade classes from Henry, their teachers and a chaperone were on their way to Washington, D.C. to visit the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the Newseum.

Maryland State Police said the accident appeared to have been caused by a southbound passenger car that attempted to pass the bus, lost control, came back across the lanes, and clipped the front of the bus.

“As the driver of the passenger vehicle entered lane one, he lost control of his vehicle for unknown reasons and drove off on the left side of the interstate, then returned to the travel portion, crossing all three lanes of traffic. The passenger vehicle clipped the front of the passenger bus as it cross in front of it,” according to a state police press release. “After being struck, the passenger bus traveled off the right side of the interstate, struck an embankment and then struck a tree before overturning onto its left side. The bus came to rest across the slow and middle lanes of the interstate.”

The state police said witnesses told them that the car was “proceeding around the bus” when it struck the front end of the bus.

Police said they would not be filing any charges in the crash immediately.

All day Monday, the District worked to reunite parents and crash victims. School police and counselors were dispatched to the school to talk with upset teachers and students.

Henry Principal Fatima Rodgers offered thanks for the support her school had received.

“I want to thank everyone who has stepped up in this time of need to support our students, staff and our entire school community. The support we have received from our parents, school community, the entire School District of Philadelphia, our city agencies, DBHIdS and the Red Cross has been overwhelming, and it has made a tremendous difference” Rodgers said.

The Charles Henry School will continue to have counselors, school psychologists, a Prevention and Intervention Specialist, representatives from the District’s Family and Community Engagement Office, and other District staff on-site, according to a statement from the District.

The School District’s Office of Prevention & Intervention has been working with the school principal to plan for counseling efforts for students, staff and parents, including community-based counseling.

According to a statement by the Henry PTA, counseling for the students is a major concern. “The Red Cross will provide counseling through the end of the week (and the school is petitioning for additional support), in addition to school and district counseling and psychological support,” the statement said.

In addition, the PTA is looking into how it can collect funds to support the families who will need additional support through medical procedures and to replace missing items.

District officials urged parents or school community members who have questions to contact the Family and Community Engagement Office by calling (215) 400-5858.

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