Emotional support needed after bus crash, officials say | #schoolsaftey

While the New York State Police and National Transportation Safety Board investigate what exactly caused the bus crash on I-84 in Waywayanda, there’s also dozens of students and their families dealing with its traumatic aftermath.

Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker said the entire Farmingdale community was in mourning Friday after two pillars of their school district, 43-year old Gina Pellettiere and 77-year old Beatrice Ferrari, died in the deadly rollover on Thursday.

“Beatrice Ferrari has been doing this for years, she loved going on band trips,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said. “And Gina Pellettiere, I talked to the students, I talked to the parents, they loved Gina.”

But the tragedy is especially personal for Walker.

“I represent Farmingdale. I know many of these children, the staff,” she said. “I always tell them when we’re at anything together, that although they don’t live in my house, they’re all my kids.”

Counselors were immediately made available to the students on five other buses that were apart of Thursday’s caravan to a weekend band camp excursion in Pennsylvania from Long Island.

Jesse Sarubbi, the chief program officer with Family Services, a group that provides a range of mental health and safety services in the area, said right now, survivors of the crash are dealing with a lot, mentally and emotionally.

“I think they’re going through grief, fear and uncertainty. For some people, they could be going through trauma. Absolutely. And that would be different depending on their person and depending upon the sorts of supports that are available to them,” Sarubbi said.

The path to recovery for them and their families may be a long one. Sarubbi said they will likely need immediate care and comfort to process the event, especially for young people.

“Young people are more vulnerable to being, to becoming more long-term affected by a tragedy such as this, if it’s not dealt with,” Sarubbi said.

Walker said Farmingdale will rally behind everyone who has been affected by the tragedy.

“Farmingdale community is amazingly strong,” she said. “They’re a very tight-knit community. They will move on and they will work hard, and they will hold each other together throughout this terrible tragedy. And they know that they have all of us here.”

The Farmingdale school district announced it set up a crisis center at their Howitt Middle School so anyone, student, parent or staff, can receive support they need.

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