South Elementary Mourns Student Killed in Bus Accident

September 1, 2004 -- Posted at 6:10 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- Flags fly at half-staff Wednesday as South Elementary.  School teachers and students grieve the loss of a student and classmate. Police released the identity of the little boy who was killed Tuesday afternoon when he rode his bike into a school bus. Police identified the second grade student as eight-year-old Brian Davis.

School officials and the community are struggling to come to terms with his death. Students, teachers and parents were all shocked about the horrible accident, but they spent Wednesday working together to cope with this tragedy.

Crisis Management Leader Marilyn Copeland said, "We wanted to have today as normal as a day for our students as possible."

Jonesboro School Board President Paula Thompson said in an afternoon news conference, "We all grieve together with the students and staff of South Elementary."

School went on as usual Wednesday, but Tuesday's terrible accident left some parents shaken. "You want to think your kids are being taken care of when they're at school. They're the surrogate parents for you when you're not there," said Dave Albert, whose daughter attends South.

The Jonesboro School system is providing grief counseling for the teachers, the students and even the bus driver involved in the accident, but they do realize that it will take time for this school to heal.

Flags are flying half-staff at the Jonesboro Administration Building and also at schools all across Jonesboro in memory of 8-year-old Davis.

Two staff members and a school resource officer were near Davis as he hit the school bus. Jonesboro Police sergeant Doug Forman said, "Officers were there quickly after that, within minutes on the scene. Investigators, and of course emergency personal as far as ambulance drivers and that sort of thing, were all on the scene within minutes."

Superintendent Dr. Bill Beasley said, "We don't know of anything that we could change that would have avoided this accident at this time."

No charges are planned to be filed against the driver, Rick Alsup. "The bus driver had an outstanding record and has been with the district many years," said Beasley.

South Elementary releases students who walk or ride bikes before students who ride buses. It's not known if Davis was leaving school when he was riding his bike or retuning to the campus. But officials say they don't plan to change the way students leave school.

"There may be some changes, but the indication now is that we have the best possible traffic pattern that we can organize. It's not obviously fail proof as in this case," said Beasley.

Flags at the Jonesboro schools will remain at half-staff for the rest of the week. So far, there's been no word on funeral arrangements for Brian Davis.