by Ashley DeVita
It all began with the Farmingdale High School marching band heading out on their annual trip to a Pennsylvania band camp on September 22nd. Tragically, one of the buses they were travelling on veered off the road in Orange County, New York. The accident left 2 teachers dead and forty-two children hospitalized. Those two lives lost were band director Gina Pellettiere, age 43, and retired teacher Beatrice Ferrari, age 77. The school was using a Regency Transportation bus, and, unfortunately, these kinds of luxury buses don’t require seatbelts. As a result, the children and adults were thrown from their seats as the bus flipped after losing control.
According to various news outlets, the Regency Transportation company failed to properly maintain, inspect and repair their buses which led to a lawsuit after these issues were neglected. In the CNN article “Parent of High School Marching Band Student who was Injured in Fatal New York bus Crash Files Lawsuit Against Bus Company and Driver” by Jessica Xin, she states that the bus company failed five out of 15 safety inspections during the 2023 calendar year. CNN also cited the driver for negligence stating that “Schaffer failed to control the bus, driving at speeds that would cause the bus to ‘veer off’ the road”.
Oceanside, and many other Long Island communities showed their support for Farmingdale following the accident. Here at OHS, we devoted a day of our High School spirit week to wearing green to acknowledge the Farmingdale community. Students at Oceanside High School also sold bracelets to help raise funds to donate to the Farmingdale High School marching band. Many local Long Island businesses also partook in helping to support Farmingdale. In the face of tragedy, it is always wonderful to see our communities pulling together to support each other. We will continue to support Farmingdale as they slowly recover from this tragedy.