Around 7:46 a.m. at NC Assistant Principal Shelly Panik’s voice illuminated through the PA stating, “There is a load-and-go situation. I repeat there will be a load-and-go situation today after school.” LT students knew there would be chaos, but no one could anticipate the nearly fatal injuries one their fellow students endured.
When the final bell rang at 3:05 p.m. students sprinted out of the school to catch the buses.
“Papers were flying everywhere, students were shoving one another, it was crazy,” Brock Randall said. “The fire alarm was even ringing to assure students got out of the building as quick as possible.”
At the corner of Park and Elm, Garry Hert ‘20 began to step foot on the bus when he was bumped by an unknown student, bus driver Otto Cory said. He fell to the ground and before he could get up students began to run over him.
“No one stopped to ask if he was okay, or help him up even because everyone was so worried they would miss the bus,” Cory said. “I was trying to get to him, but the mass of kids storming onto the bus stopped me from doing so.”
Hert had bruises everywhere on his body as well as indents on his stomach and head from the students’ shoes, his mother Karen Hert said. Along with the external damage, Garry has a fractured groin, a sprained spine and a chipped bone in his neck.
“We are hoping he recovers and returns back to the normal Garry we know and love,” Karen said. “His injuries are so abnormal, though, we are unsure if he will recuperate.”
The Hert family is suing the school for the “unsafe and cruel” conditions the load-and-go system puts the students in.
“No kid should have to risk his or her life to simply catch a bus,” Karen said. “I hope the court sees the load-and-go as an unnecessary risk to all students. This system needs to end before another student gets hurt like my poor son Garry.”