Several elementary school students from Norman remain in a Texas hospital on Sunday night. The fifth graders from Cleveland Elementary School in Norman were injured in a bus accident on Saturday on their way to San Antonio for a field trip to SeaWorld.
Of the 25 students on the bus, five remain hospitalized along with two staff members. And for the families that stayed overnight, they say the outreach was “amazing.”
“We will forever be grateful for the Lampasas community,” said Alesha Leemaster, the director of communications for the Norman Public School District.
When tragedy hit for dozens of kids far from home, a community stepped in to help.
“They really rallied around our kids and our teachers,” she said.
A field trip to SeaWorld was cut short for the fifth grade class when the driver of the school bus carrying the girls lost control. The bus rolled injuring all on board. A second bus carrying the boys was diverted to a nearby middle school.
“The Lampasas Independent School District, the superintendent himself came to the school, opened the door so there was an area where students and faculty could stay and figure everything out,” Leemaster said
“Got a call from the sheriff shortly after, they requested a place for a group of boy students to come,” said Chane Rascoe, Superintendent for Lampasas ISD. “Our community has come together and provided food for the kids.”
Lampasas community members also provided pillows, blankets and stuffed animals to comfort the students. For the students not picked up by their parents, Soldier Xpress offered transportation home. All 25 girls and three staff members were taking to nearby hospitals, as parents traveled to meet their kids.
Christi Robberson’s daughter, Alina, was among those injured. She said once she entered the hospital she was amazed by what she saw.
“The halls were lined with firefighters, police officers and the sheriff, who was the one keeping me informed the whole trip there,” Robberson said. “The service people, along with the nurses and hospital staff were all entertaining the kids and keeping them busy playing games. Alina talked about how the firefighters were so funny and kept them laughing. A local restaurant provided meals for all the children and workers. Churches dropped off toiletry bags care packages, games, teddy bears, books and extra clothes for those of us needing to stay the night. The outreach truly was amazing.”
Twenty girls were treated and released to their parents.
“The Norman Public School family and the Cleveland Cubs, that family, they're really close knit and we're all just sticking together during this time providing as much support as we can to one another,” said Leemaster.
On Sunday, the district opened Cleveland Elementary School to parents as they returned home, to pick up their kid’s belongings.
“Our hearts are going out to our own here in Norman,” she said.
The district will have additional counselors at the school on Monday to help students cope with what happened.