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October 29, 2009  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

DOE reports on district's comprehensive response to fatal bus crash


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COTTONWOOD, Minn. — Feb. 19, 2010, will mark the two-year anniversary of a crash involving a Lakeview Public Schools (LPS) bus, a minivan and another vehicle that killed four students and injured 16 others.

In the days and months following the crash, LPS officials developed comprehensive response and recovery efforts, which are outlined in a report by the U.S. Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center.

A communication committee helped in keeping students safe in the days following the crash, ensuring that they did not leave campus distressed and that unauthorized individuals were not permitted to enter school grounds. In addition, counselors were made available to teachers, and the district recruited substitute teachers, retired teachers and faculty members from other districts to assist teachers during their daily schedules.

Moreover, the report indicates that when the crash occurred, numerous mental health providers, including counselors, social workers and school psychologists, made themselves available to the school district. A counselor stepped in and started a sign-in sheet asking the volunteers to commit their availability.

“We never turned down anybody. You can always send people home, but you can’t get them back,” said Shelly Buntjer, a LPS counselor, who is quoted in the report.

Finally, the Lakeview community was primarily responsible for shaping memorials to honor the students who were killed in the accident. To mark the accident’s one-year anniversary, planners turned to the families of the crash victims and students for their input. Students participated in a number of service projects to celebrate the lives of the victims.

To read about LPS’ response and recovery efforts in full, click here.


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