Student Accident Prompts Schedule Changes, Counseling at Mainland High, Belhaven School
Mainland Regional High School has made adjustments to its schedule in the wake of Saturday's car accident involving five students.
Aisling Cooke, 14, an incoming freshman at Mainland Regional remains in critical condition on life support after the accident. The other students were released from the hospital Saturday.
According to police, the five students were traveling on RT 40 in Hamilton Township at 8:45am Saturday, August 29th when a Chevy Silverado crossed the center line and hit oncoming traffic.
The truck first hit a small truck and then a Volkswagen Jetta driven by Madelyn Williscroft, 18, a senior at Mainland. The other four students in the car were all incoming freshmen girls who had graduated in June from Belhaven Middle School. The girls were on their way to a charity soccer event when the accident happened..
Interim School Superintendent Robert Previti said the first-week schedule, which would be communicated to parents via the Connect-Ed all-call system Monday, Sept. 1, will differ from that outlined previously.
Incoming freshmen and their parents have been asked to come in at 9 a.m. for an assembly led by Previti, who will talk about the accident and discuss signs of emotional trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. Administrators and school counselors will be present for those who would like to speak with them.
“We have no way of knowing how something like this effects each of the kids, and we want to be prepared to help in any way we can with our students and families,” Previti said. “The staff from Belhaven will be at the meeting as well, a sign of solidarity. Four of the five girls in the accident are incoming freshmen from Linwood and attended Belhaven, so we wanted them to be a part, and they wanted to be here for the kids.”
Wednesday morning, Maryanne Gaffney, the new school superintendent for the Linwood school district, will open Belhaven to speak to students and parents.
Thursday, Sept. 4 is the first day of school for students at Mainland. Previti said counselors will be available should students feel they would like to speak with someone.
Here is the message School Superintendent Robert Preveti released to parents and students on Monday, September 1st.
"Good Evening: This is Dr. Robert Previti, Superintendent of Mainland Regional High School, with a very important message for you concerning your child and an invitation to a Special Assembly scheduled at Mainland Regional High School on Tuesday, September 2nd.
As I am sure you are aware, a tragic accident has occurred involving five Mainland Regional High School students who were on their way to play a three on three soccer tournament on Saturday, August 30th at a Fund Raising Event at St. Augustine Prep High School.
The accident has emotionally affected the entire Mainland Community and has left one student in critical condition. We are, through this message, inviting you to attend a Special Assembly with your 9th grade child at 9:00AM, Tuesday, September 2nd, at Mainland's Auditorium so that we may provide support systems and information that you may want and need to help you and your child at this period of time.
This assembly shall provide a transitional experience as well as provide a staff contact before we start our school year on Thursday, September 4th.
For students in Grades 10 through 12, we will provide counseling and support services in the afternoon of September 2nd for anyone who wishes to come to school before Thursday's first scheduled day.
Counselors will be available from 1PM on Tuesday and will continue to be available for as many days as they are needed.
Counselors from Mainland, our sending districts, and county schools, as well as the entire Linwood Faculty along with Mainland's Faculty, will be present for the Assembly since four of the girls in the accident graduated from Belhaven Avenue School this past June.
This is not a mandatory assembly, just an opportunity to share our plans, express our support, and listen to your concerns.
We continue to stand United as One School, One Family, and One Community. Please take care and I hope to see you Tuesday Morning September 2nd.
The Share the Keys program scheduled for Wednesday, September 3rd has been postponed."