Counsellors help students deal with death of classmate

By  Daniel Mesec, The Catholic Register
  • April 22, 2007
Mississauga, Ont. - A Tragic Events Response Team (TERT) arrived at St. Alfred’s Catholic School here April 12 to give support to students and teachers in their time of grief for 10-year-old schoolmate, John Pham, who died as a result of a bus accident on Hwy 410 south of Brampton the day before.
During a field trip the bus carrying 27 Grade 4 students from St. Alfred’s, as well as two parents and one teacher, hit the rear wheels of a tractor-trailer and swerved off the road. Pham was violently thrown from his seat and severely injured his head. He was taken to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto where he later died from his injuries.

Fourteen students were injured when the bus swerved off the road and into the muddy ditch, stopping just before hitting oncoming traffic in the southbound lanes. A number of students were taken to Brampton Memorial Hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The TERT team is made up of teachers, principals and vice principals who have been trained in grief counselling.

“The TERT members cover duties, shifts, watch classes and help students understand the tragic situation,” said Bruce Campbell, community relations manager for the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.

“Its times like these that people in the Catholic community are thankful they have someone to lean on,” said Campbell.

St. Alfred’s also held liturgies on April 12 for those injured in the crash.

A funeral Mass was held April 16 for Pham at San Salvador Do Mundo Church in Mississauga.

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