WINAMAC, IN (WSBT/CNN) – A middle school in Indiana is coming to grips with the loss of a student who was killed in a bus crash.
Owen Abbott, 13, was in the back of a school bus on the way to a Christmas musical when it was rear-ended by a truck at a railroad crossing near Argos, IN, on Wednesday.
Other students were hospitalized after the crash, but their injuries aren’t believed to be life-threatening.
Abbott was a popular boy, liked by his teachers and classmates. The school is trying to help students cope with the tragedy.
After Wednesday, many might have wanted to stay home the next day and mourn privately – but not the teachers in Winamac.
"All of those staff members were here today, and they wanted to be for the kids, and thought that would show the kids that we can do this, but it’s going to take everybody," said Dan Foster, superintendent of the Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation.
To help in the grieving process, Foster has brought in counselors from all over the county.
“They will deal with some of the students that are individually still struggling, and we have many,” he said.
Whatever might be going through students’ minds, they have another avenue for comfort: dogs from Lutheran Church Charities. They listen to the kids and take in a lot, with no judgement.
Foster said counselors told him it may take up to five years for some kids to fully process the tragedy.
“At this age, some of them don’t know how to react yet,” Foster said. “And that’s another thing that I put in the notice last night: You may just be numb, you may be angry, you may be frustrated, you may be confused, not know how to act.”