OAKLANDON, Ind. – Longtime Amy Beverland Elementary School Principal Susan Jordan always put students first.
The Beverland principal of 22 years pushed several students out of the path of a wayward bus in front of the school and sacrificed her own life to protect them. The bus struck Jordan and two 10-year-old students who are now in critical but stable condition at Riley Hospital for Children.
Jordan died at the school, the Indianapolis Star reports.
“Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about a legend,” Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent Shawn A. Smith said at a press conference, according to the news site.
“As superintendent of schools and a representative of the entire school community, we lost a great educator today,” he said.
“Susan was an amazing educator,” the school board said in a statement Tuesday. “She had a remarkable way of making everyone she came into contact with feel valued and important. She has a passion for children that is unmatched.”
Police Sgt. Kendale Adams told NBC News the incident appeared to be a “freak accident.”
“The female bus driver told firefighters that she is not sure what caused the bus to accelerate and jump the curb but reported in the instant that the accident occurred she saw principal Jordan push several students out of the way before she was tragically killed,” fire Capt. Rita Reith said, adding that the driver and 25 children aboard the bus were not injured.
The Star highlighted a video posted to YouTube in May filled with glowing testimonials from students, faculty and staff commending Jordan for her decades of service to the school.
“She always brings a positive spirit to Amy Beverland,” one teacher said. “One thing I know makes her a great leader is that she always trusts in her teachers, and she’s always positively supporting us.”
“We love you, Mrs. Jordan!” the video concluded. “Amy Beverland really is the sunshine after the rainbow. Thank you for your many years of leadership!”
The Star reports the school bus involved in the crash last passed an inspection by Indiana State Police on Jan. 22. Investigators continue to look into the details of accident, Fox 59 reports.
The school district canceled classes for Wednesday and offered several locations with counselors for emotional support during school hours. Classes are expected to resume as normal Thursday.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett also issued a statement on the tragedy.
“I cannot express deeply enough the sympathy and condolences that all of the city feels, not only for the family of Susan Jordan but for those children that were affected by today’s accident,” he said, according to Fox 59.
“It is on tragic afternoons and evenings when we are led to cry and to mourn, but it is on this afternoon that we are also reminded of the goodness of the people that respond to tragedies like this and that we are, in fact, once city,” Hoggsett said.
“We will endure. There will be tomorrow, as sad as this evening has been. And we express our condolences to the entire Amy Beverland community and Lawrence Township schools.”