Nearly all St. Paul junior high students return to school after tragic crash
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 5:42PM MST
Last Updated Monday, January 7, 2013 6:39PM MST
Nearly three months after a tragic crash took the life of a young girl, and injured many more, most of the staff and students at a St. Paul junior high returned to their old classrooms for the first time.
Most of the total 260 students enrolled at Racette Junior High School in St. Paul were back in their old classrooms for the first time since October 11, when a minivan crashed through the window of a Grade 6 classroom, pinning a number of students underneath.
Megan Wolitski, 11, died as a result of injuries she suffered in the crash, at least two others suffered serious injuries.
Since that tragic day, Racette Junior High School students have been going to school at the town’s nearby high school – to allow staff and students to grieve, and for repairs to be done to infrastructure damaged in the crash.
“It’s a decision that we thought we had to [make],” School superintendent Glen Brodziak said. “There are such varied views about what children wanted, what families wanted, what teachers wanted.
“It’s very much an individual journey for all families in trying to deal with this.”
While most of the student body has returned to their school, students in the Grade 6 class where the accident took place have decided to stick together – and finish out the year at St. Paul Regional High School.
School board officials told CTV News grief counselors are available to help children and staff through the transition.
The classroom where the tragedy occurred will remain closed.
Richard Benson, 46, is facing a number of charges related to the crash – including criminal negligence causing death, two charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count each of resisting arrest, and possession of a controlled substance.
With files from Ashley Molnar