Grade-one student hit and killed by school bus on last day of school

·2-min read

A school bus has struck and fatally killed a first-grader in eastern Missouri on the last day of classes before winter break.

The young boy, a student at Plattin Primary School, had exited the bus moments before he was hit, Fox2 News reported.

“This morning we were singing Christmas carols together,” said Clint Johnston, the superintendent of the Jefferson R-VII School District, as he choked up during a news conference. 

An empty yellow school bus sits on the side of the road after an incident in which a grade one student was hit and killed.
The boy had stepped off the bus moments before he was hit. Source: Fox2Now

“This is a bad day. A bad day for our school, a bad day for our community and we are hurting.”

Mr Johnston described what happened as a “terrible accident” and said that “we regret it”. 

He said it was premature to try to describe what happened and said that an investigation was underway. He also declined to release the child’s name, saying he wanted to give the boy’s family time to notify all the extended relatives.

He said grief counsellors would be at the school on Wednesday, even though classes won’t be in session.

Superintendent Clint Johnston appears emotional as he talks to reporters about the child's death.
Superintendent Clint Johnston held back tears as he spoke to reporters to confirm the child's death. Source: Fox2Now

“Please keep our families and our community and our children in your thoughts and prayers,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough Christmas season for a lot of people. We’ll get through it. We’ll pull together, but this is not the way anyone wants to ever have to experience a holiday break, and we’re hurting.”

Missouri Highway Patrol Trooper Scott Roettger told reporters the boy's parents were having a hard time grasping the news.

“Parents have been notified. As anyone can imagine, it’s difficult news to deal with, and certainly, it’s going to be hard for them in the future,” he said.

The crash happened near the town of Festus, which is about 48 kilometers south of St. Louis.

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