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February 19, 2008 09:43 PM

School Prepares To Deal With Grieving Students


Four students are now confirmed dead in the school bus crash near Cottonwood, Minnesota. Authorities say a van hit the bus carrying 40 people, which then collided with a truck and tipped over on its side.


It's been a horrific night in Cottonwood where classes are cancelled for the Lakeview School district Wednesday, but school officials say counselors and clergy will be on hand to help the community start to work through the tragedy. In addition to the four students who are dead, at least 14 other people are hurt. The crash happened along Highway 23, near the intersection of Lyon County Road 24. 

The Minnesota State Patrol has not yet released the names or ages of any of the victims in Tuesday's crash. But the loss of four students will have a lasting impact on the small school district. 

The images of a Lakeview School District bus tipped on its side are not something a superintendent likes to see, especially when he knows some of his students lost their lives in the crash. 

Lakeview Superintendent Sheldon Johnson says "I've been in this business 43 years and I can guarantee that this is the most difficult. There is nothing that compares to the hour at hand." 

Ten minutes after school let out, the Lakeview School District was called about the accident, that hurt more than a dozen people and left Cottonwood residents mourning the loss of young lives. 

Johnson says, "In a small community, we all come together at a time such as this and support each other." 

And support is what the school is hoping to give the community, that is still in shock over the images from the tragedy. 

Johnson says, "The school district building becomes a haven and it becomes a source of comfort so we will try to do everything in our power to help our students and our parents and our staff through this."

There are 585 students in the Lakeview District. While classes are cancelled for Wednesday, superintendent Sheldon Johnson says there's no decision on what will happen for the rest of the week.

Use the video player below for Lakeview Superintendent Sheldon Johnson's remarks.

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