Classmates of Evie and Otis Maslin, who died with their older brother Mo and grandfather Nick Norris on downed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, returned to lessons today without their two friends in a heart-wrenching day for the Karrinyup school.
Children, parents and staff arrived at Deanmore Primary School for the first day of the new term this morning.
They learned three days ago that Evie, 10, eight-year-old Otis, Mo, 12, and Mr Norris, 68, were among the 298 people who were killed when the Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flight was shot down over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
Principal Jeanette Metcalf made a moving address to pupils and parents at this morning’s assembly.
“We will not enjoy the generous smiles of Evie and the impish good humour of our Otie again. At this moment, we cannot focus on what is tearing our hearts apart, but what is holding it together,” she said.
Ms Metcalfe asked pupils and families to try to make sense of the shocking tragedy.
“There are no signposts to show us how to come to terms with the loss we have suffered,” she said. “Our healing process will take time – a long time.”
Government child psychologists went to the independent public school before pupils arrived this morning to give staff advice on how to treat and deal with children.
Many parents left the school in tears after the half-hour assembly.