Children healing one year after shooting on Midland City bus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Children healing one year after shooting on Midland City bus

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MIDLAND CITY, AL (WSFA) -

It's a scene straight from a horror movie -- an experience no one should ever have to go through. For students on a Midland City bus, they saw it unfold in person. To help cope with the horror, the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center quickly stepped in and provided counseling for many of the students. So how are they now?

"One student wrote, 'having someone die for you is the most amazing thing'," said Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center executive director Sherryl Walker, reading from one of the many letters students wrote after witnessing the murder of their bus driver, Charles Poland.

The letters are part of their therapy.

"To realize someone was actually willing to stand up to that murderer and save those children is amazing. It makes me sad for the loss of innocence for those children," Walker said.

For the more than 20 children on the bus, that day their innocence was stripped in a matter of minutes and they were left with life long emotional scars.

"I like to think of it, if you have ridden a bicycle and fell and have a scar, every time I look at that scar I'm going to think about," Walker said. "I think the children will have an emotional scar that will forever be in their hearts and they will never fully get over that."

"I don't think anyone ever forgets any traumatic event. It's always there. In their life, they may even encounter something that triggers those thoughts," added therapist Aline Mays-Easley of the Southeast Alabama Child Advocacy Center.

Yet, a year later and healing is starting to take place.

"I would say they are healing. The kids are doing well in school and able to focus in school. A lot of the kids still ride the school bus and able to ride the bus and able to understand they're safe. I think they will be able to move forward and be productive," Mays-Easley said.

"I think the children are in a better place than where they were a year ago," Walker said.

The incident has taught everyone a valuable lesson.

"What I've learned is we should take every day and live it to the fullest and instill value into our children and people around us. Tell people you love them and don't wait until it's too late," Walker said.

Dale County Superintendent Donny Bynum echoed those remarks. He says children have learned to depend on each other, and for teachers, faculty, and students there is a general sense of people caring more for one another.

The multiple types of therapy has been provided through two grants the organization received.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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