PERRY TWP. — The community has united to support a Douglas MacArthur Elementary School teacher who was injured and whose classroom was destroyed Monday when a car crashed into the building.
An Amazon wishlist has been set up to help recoup some of the items lost when the car drove through the school building, Perry Township Schools Communications Director Elizabeth Choi said.
"We've had tremendous support from the community," said Douglas MacArthur Principal Bethany Gibson. "Just this week, we've had so many things come in."
So far, the list includes items like classroom chairs, storage crates, note pads, pencils, markers and more.
But that's not all that's being done to support the teacher and the school.
Some have brought pillows and books for children who were directly affected and may have experienced trauma from the crash. Others have brought in therapy dogs, which Gibson said has been a big help.
"I think it has really helped kids be less anxious about what’s happening around the building and with their teacher," Gibson said.
Three people were injured, including the second-grade teacher, when a car crashed into the building about 8:40 a.m. Monday in the 400 block of East Stop 11 Road, Choi said.
The teacher, the driver and a child passenger were transported to an area hospital with minor injuries, according to Choi.
Gibson said the classroom remains closed as crews work to restore it. There's currently a temporary wall on the building's exterior, but inside everything is still being sorted through.
Meanwhile, Gibson said, the teacher is recovering and doing well, which has been comforting for the students to hear. The teacher has started a separate Amazon wishlist of her own that she's updating as she has time.
"For the most part, they're really just concerned about their teacher and making sure that she is okay," she said. "The kids are pretty resilient and they're back in their routine."
There's no timeline yet for when the teacher will return to the classroom, as Gibson said she needs time to recover.
Gibson said she wants everyone who has donated, given words of encouragement or helped in any way to know they are appreciated.
"Right now, education is a tough job. So it’s always nice to feel the community embrace what we do here and show that they care. Because we definitely care about our kids and our staff. I’m just very grateful to work here at Douglas MacArthur and Perry Township Schools.”
Anyone interested in supporting the teacher can contribute to the Amazon wishlist or email AmberGail3609@yahoo.com.