The serious bus crash that injured 26 Henry Elementary eighth-graders and three chaperones Monday was more than just a traumatic event for the children and adults to process and to heal from.
It also represents a financial burden for some.
Four people hurt in the crash on I-95 in Maryland — special education teacher Brittany Jacobs and three students — remain in hospitals. Jacobs is in critical condition.
Families have had to take time away from work and, in the case of those keeping vigil with Jacobs, pay expenses associated with staying in Maryland, close to the hospital where she was airlifted and still remains.
At the same time, the academic year continues, with the West Mount Airy school’s eighth graders preparing for some cherished rites of passage: class t-shirts, yearbooks and other end-of-the-year traditions. Those things are usually paid for with class dues.
Some Henry teachers hope to raise $15,000 to offset some of the costs for the families affected by the crash.
“C.W. Henry would be grateful for any contributions toward these efforts in order to lighten the load for the families already affected financially by this tragedy,” teachers wrote on a GoFundMe page.
The online campaign was shared by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, with PFT president Jerry Jordan making a pitch for donations.
“While finances are tight for everyone, we do know that Philly educators are among the most generous, community minded folks that you’ll find,” Jordan wrote. “The Henry community is asking for anyone who can to donate to their GoFundMe for all those affected by the accident.”
Thousands were raised in a few hours Wednesday, with messages of love and support sent along with money.
“Praying for you guys. May God protect you, keep you, and grant you peace,” one donor wrote.
“Neighborhood love to you,” another said. “These kids need some smiles,” someone else said.
Along with parents, the Henry faculty will work together to determine how best to distribute the donated funds.
The fund remained short of its goal on Thursday morning, with just over $8,000 raised.
The investigation into the crash continues and there is no word yet on any possible charges being filed.