Students stuck on a bus for 4 1/2 hours calmed by principal reading to them via FaceTime

Pine Road Elementary principal Brian Swank reads to students stuck on a bus via FaceTime. (Photo: Twitter)

An early snowstorm Thursday afternoon was treacherous for many drivers, but a group of children from Pine Road Elementary in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., were lucky enough to be entertained during their long drive.

The K-5 school was dismissed early, but thanks to the snow, sleet and rain, a school bus taking some students home became stuck behind an accident. Their typical half-hour ride turned into a 4 1/2-hour journey.

A fifth-grader, Gavin Blumhardt, called his mom to let her know that their school bus was stuck, and she informed the principal, Brian Swank, who was stationed at the school to ensure that all the students made it home safely. Swank then called Gavin.

“He said, ‘Dr. Swank, everyone is freaking out, especially the young kids,'” Swank told WPVI.

After hearing the children were nervous, he decided to FaceTime them. “I was hopeful that a familiar face would have a calming influence on them,” Swank told the outlet.

As the older kids helped the younger ones settle down, Swank helped the students pass the time by reading them books as they watched through Gavin’s phone.


The principal read two books; the first was You Belong Here by M.H. Clark.

“I know that sounds a little crazy given the circumstances. But really it’s a message about being together and belonging to something important. In this case it was being a part of our Pine Road family… even if they were stuck on buses! Everyone worked together like good families,” Swank told WPVI.

The second book was Oh! What a Surprise! by Suzanne Bloom, fitting, because a snowstorm in November was quite the surprise. 


“I’ll never stop being a teacher. Every good teacher knows that there is nothing better than a good read-aloud. Kids of all ages love being read to,” Swank told WPVI, while giving credit to the transportation crew. “Kudos to our drivers and transportation team for their efforts. They were the unsung heroes of the day — they were incredible.”

A representative of Pine Road Elementary did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

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