Three days after a Northern California teen was struck and killed by an oncoming train as he pushed his girlfriend out of its direct path, classmates returned to a somber campus Monday teeming with counselors.
“We really don’t know what to expect, experts tell me every situation is different, but we are prepared,” Tim Malone, principal of Marysville Charter Academy of the Arts, told Fox 40.
Mateus Moore, 16, was pronounced dead at the scene Friday after both he and his girlfriend, 16-year-old Mickayla Friend, were hit by the train in Marysville, Calif., just north of Sacramento. Mickayla was airlifted to Sutter Roseville Medical Center for critical injuries, where she is recovering.
Officials are still trying to determine how the teens, who were headed to a Sadie Hawkins dance at their school when they were struck, did not hear the slow-moving southbound Union Pacific train as it approached, blowing its horn.
“We just don’t know. We don’t know what distractions had been in place," Marysville Police Chief David Baker said.
Hundreds gathered at Earle Yorton Little League Park on Sunday evening to remember Mateus, who was hailed as a self-sacrificing hero for pushing Mickayla out of the direct path of the train. She suffered serious injuries, but was expected to recover.
On Monday, students declined to speak to the media as they entered the school.
Every psychologist in the Marysville Joint Unified School District was at the campus, as were victim services staffers from Yuba County, to help grieving students as the school attempted to carry on.
Flowers and notes were left outside of the school's main office in tribute to Mateus.
“Instruction was not our primary focus today," Malone told the Sacramento Bee, "but we did our best to go on with life."