An elementary school principal in Indianapolis was struck and killed by an oncoming bus on Tuesday after she leapt in front of the vehicle to push several students out of the way. The educator is now being lauded in death as a hero who may have saved the lives of multiple children.
The buses were lined up outside the school to pick up students at the end of the day, around 2:45 p.m., Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Rita Reith said.
“At some point, the stationary bus lurched forward and jumped the curb. The bus was not moving at the time directly before it jumped the curb,” Reith said.
The female bus driver told responding firefighters that she was not sure what caused the bus to move forward. Authorities are still investigating. Police Commander Chris Bailey said the driver would be given a blood test, which is standard procedure following a collision involving fatalities.
But the driver also said that during the harrowing few seconds when the bus was in motion, she saw Jordan move into the path of the bus to push several students out of harm’s way.
In addition to Jordan, two 10-year-old children were also struck by the bus. The kids are currently hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver and the 25 students already on the bus were inspected by responders but did not require treatment.
Jordan served as the principal of the school for 22 years, according to Lawrence Township School Superintendent Shawn Smith.
“This is a great example of an educational leader in our state and our city, just a phenomenal individual that truly cared about children,” Smith said at a press conference following the incident. “This is a tragic situation that we have. This loss is going to ripple across our district of 15,000 students.”
A YouTube video produced in May 2015 to honor Jordan’s many years of service with the school district is now filled with comments from friends and family mourning her death.
“This video is so special because it’s not a case of people waiting to say nice things after someone has passed. I am so thankful that Mrs. Jordan was able to receive these heartfelt messages while she was still with us,” user Sonya CH wrote.
The school district canceled classes at all schools on Wednesday but left several locations open to provide “emotional support” for staff and families.