One week after bus crash killed 6, kids return to class

Monday marks one week since the Chattanooga school bus crash that killed six Woodmore Elementary School students and injured dozens.

CHATTANOOGA - Monday marks one week since the Chattanooga school bus crash that killed six Woodmore Elementary School students and injured dozens. 

Students like Tommyuanna Johnson cross the street and walk through doors into a school that won't ever be the same.

"Because some of my friends are gone and I can't see them anymore,” Johnson said.

Johnson hasn't been to school since the devastating bus crash one week ago. She lost some of her classmates and family members. She’s one of many still grieving as the community lays six children to rest.

"I wrote on their page and let them know. We're supposed to be attending D’Myunn Brown funeral with my friend but I’m praying for them,” Johnson’s mother said.

Bus 366 has been replaced with bus 357. The school district says the bus will be driven by an experienced driver and a staff member will ride all buses for the morning and the afternoon routes at least through winter break.

At a time when the community feels broken, parents know going back to school is necessary though not easy.

"It's good for the kids to get back into a routine so they can all come together,” Johnson’s mother said.

It was all hugs and high fives as students arrived. The school district brought in comfort dogs for students and faculty Monday morning.

It's a time of transition for the entire community, a time to mourn and find a new normal.       

"I’m going to try and be good and just pray for them," Johnson said.

The district said they're encouraging all students to attend school during this difficult time, they say getting back into a routine is the best way for students to begin to heal. 

"Getting the students back on a normal routine is vital for their wellbeing," said Hamilton County Department of Education Interim Superintendent Kirk Kelly in a press conference Monday afternoon. 

Kelly said the school district is "humbled by the generosity and outpouring of love from the community."

Woodmore Elementary School had 15 counselors in place for students to receive support should they need to talk to anyone, said Principal Brenda Adamson-Cothran. Five therapy dogs were also at the school. 

She said the goal for Monday was to make a safe environment for the students. 

Anyone with questions or concerns can call Woodmore Elementary School at (423)493-0394.

Bus driver Johnthony Walker, 24, is with six counts of vehicular homicide, one count of reckless endangerment and one reckless driving following last Monday’s crash.

Walker is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

WRCB contributed to this story.


Photos: Fatal school bus crash in Chattanooga

(© 2016 WBIR)


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