NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — What started as a normal day for Global Learning Charter School principal Lena Pires ended in chaos when she received an alarming text message from her son.
Pires’ son, who’s a senior at Global Charter, was riding the bus home from school when a car ran a stop sign and slammed into it on Ashley Boulevard.
“He was like, ‘Mom, the bus just got hit,'” she recalled.
Pires’ son was one of around 30 students on the bus at the time, 10 of whom were transported to the hospital with minor injuries.
“It was scary,” Pires said. “I’m a principal, but I’m also a mom.”
“This was not a fender-bender,” she continued. “This was a pretty impactful car accident.”
Pires immediately notified her staff, who rushed to Ashley Boulevard to care for the students.
“We actually had a staff member that lived right down the street,” Pires said. “She volunteered her time to just be there for the kids.”
Pires said her staff worked diligently to contact students’ parents, while she rushed to the emergency room to verify that the injured students were OK.
Within a couple of hours of the crash, Pires said all of the students were either back home or with their families.
Pires said she’s proud of her the students handled themselves throughout the ordeal.
“The older students started handing their cell phones to the younger students and guided them through calling their parents,” Pires added. “We had a lot of students step up.”
The bus driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The driver of the car that hit the school bus was cited for failing to yield to a stop sign.
Pires said she supports the bus driver, especially after hearing from students after the crash.
“It was a horrible accident, I wouldn’t wish it on any school system,” Pires said. “But there wasn’t anything the bus driver could have done to avoid it.”
Pires said she’s grateful that no one was seriously injured and that the crash wasn’t worse.
“I’ll count those blessings any day,” she said.