Child hit, killed by bus

Published 6:00 am Saturday, January 10, 2009

COURTLAND—A 4-year-old student was struck and killed by a school bus this morning at Riverdale Elementary School.

The child’s grandfather, Southampton High School administrator Larry Rose, identified the student as 4-year-old Jameer Woodley, whose mother, Lakisha Rose Woodley, is a teacher at the new school, which opened last fall on Camp Parkway.

“Everyone in Southampton Public Schools is saddened by the traffic accident which involved a pre-kindergarten student,” Superintendent Charles Turner said in a written statement. “We want to thank the parents and community members for their assistance and support during this difficult time.”

Turner said the investigation into the accident was ongoing and that a crisis team would be at the school on Monday morning to meet with students.

“We continue to keep the family in our thoughts and prayers,” Turner said.

The incident occurred around 8

a.m. in the parking lot behind the school. The circumstances of the accident were not known, but several other children witnessed the tragedy.

Parents of all students were notified through an alert system that they were allowed to pick up their children from the school. The parents were told that if they chose not to pick up their children, dismissal would occur as usual at 3:15 p.m.

Many parents were seen Friday morning picking up their kids.

Wendy Whitehead, who lives across the street from the school, was picking up her son, Patrick Bosley, a fourth-grader at the school. She began hearing sirens at the school around 8:30 a.m.

“It’s just a bad thing,” Whitehead said. “And to be across the street and watch it unfold and not know (what was happening) … All the noise that we heard made us look. My heart goes out to them.”

Whitehead added, “The teachers were thoughtful enough to bring up the children’s things, so that they didn’t have to go back to their classrooms.”

Angella Lott of Franklin was picking up her two kids, ages 5 and 6, from the school.

“I dropped my kids off this morning, so I knew they were safe,” Lott said. “But I knew it was going to be very disruptive today. I got the alert that (picking up the kids) was the option, and I figured that there would be a lot of parents picking their kids up and it would disrupt the classroom, and I’d rather go ahead and bring them home.”

When asked what their plans were for the rest of the day, Lott said her kids “have gymnastics this afternoon, and then we’re going to sit down and have a talk about safety.”

Ann Heikens of Courtland was picking up her 8-year-old daughter, Camryn.

“We’re going to get some lunch for them because they’re hungry, spend some time with them, and just try to get through this. It’s terrible,” Heikens said.

Heikens said her daughter “says she saw more than I had thought she did. She said she saw the kids running and screaming. She saw more than I realized.”

“It’s very sad. It’s just unbelievable. We’ve got to go home and do a lot of talking.”