Our community experienced a tragic blow.  Yesterday, as elementary school students were boarding buses at the end of the day, a bus jumped a curb, killing the principal and seriously injuring two students.  The reasons for the accident are still unclear.

The loss is real.  The injury is real.  The grief is real.  The trauma is real.

The reaction is immediate.  And it is lasting.

There is no easy path.  There is a way forward.

We pray for the family of Susan Jordan – the principal who was killed, for the two injured students and their families, for the children who were present, for faculty, staff and administration and for parents as they seek to guide their children through this experience.

Merciful God, you give us the grace that helps in time of need.  Surround each person effected by this tragedy and lighten the burden of this time.  By the power of your Spirit, free each of us from distress.  Give a new mind and heart that we may live each day in your peace, a support to one another.  Amen.

All schools in Lawrence Township are closed today.  I can only imagine the challenges faced by those who must find a way to address the grief of so many, plus carry on with education and care of children and faculty.

Here is a sheet that describes responses of school-aged children to grief and trauma.  It gives clear examples of how to respond and what to say. As grief unfolds in a non-linear pattern, that would be good to return to in the months ahead.  Here it is in Spanish.

An important way of helping children – and any of us – manage reactions to trauma is handling exposure to media images and information. This resource is directed toward “disaster”, however, the guidance is helpful in the face of a public trauma, such as the tragedy at Amy Beverland.