Students involved in Md. charter bus crash return to school in Mt. Airy

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Victims of charter bus crash return: Jeannette Reyes reports during Action News at noon on May 17, 2017. (WPVI)

School was back in session at the Charles W. Henry School in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia for the first time since dozens of students were injured in a charter bus crash.

The crash happened Monday on I-95 in northeast Maryland as the youngsters were on a field trip.

Wednesday morning balloons decorated the entrance of the Henry School awaiting the arrival of the dozens of 8th graders and teachers who were involved in the crash.

Area residents were there as well.

"This school is so much a part of this neighborhood that everybody feels it and everybody was talking about it," said Jody Hey.

"I was just worried for everyone," said Madeline Burns of Chestnut Hill. "I came here. I was here (for) kindergarten through first grade. I know all of the teachers really well, and it was just really scary not to know what was going on."

"I was just shocked," said another resident. "I was just taken aback."

The colorful balloons were just the beginning of a day meant to give traumatized students a warm welcome back and a sense of normalcy.

The fact that four students and a teacher are still hospitalized did have a sobering effect on the festivities.

"It's a very subdued feeling at the moment," said Burns. "Everyone is recovering, obviously, and trying to help as much as they can. But for the people who were there, I could tell it still very subdued."

"We are trying to proceed as normal as possible," said Philadelphia School District spokesman Lee Whack. "Throughout the day there will be counseling available to students and staff."

"They put out the call that they needed art supplies to help make cards for all the kids who were still injured," said Burns. "And so I just went to Staples, got what I could (and) came over here."

Burns was one of many in the community who brought in cakes, flowers and cards.

One by one they showed up. Even principals form nearby schools visited to let this school community know they're not in this alone.

Community members who want to drop off cards or flowers or gifts at the school were being invited to do so between 3:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
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