Cumberland County school mourns loss of teacher

Students return to the classroom for the first time Monday without their beloved math teacher after he was killed in a crash
May 13, 2014 1:26:03 PM PDT
It's been a tough lesson in tragedy at a Cumberland County high school. South View High School in Hope Mills has lost not one, but two members of the school community this year.

Students were already coping with the murder of fellow classmate Danielle Locklear when they learned of the death of Hope Mills math teacher William Parnell. He was killed Friday in a crash involving a school bus. On Monday, students return to the classroom for the first time without their beloved math teacher.

Pink ribbons wrapped around trees at South View are a visual reminder that the school is in mourning once more.

"Kids all knew him, all loved him," said Cumberland County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Till. "They could count on him."

Dr. Till said when school let out Friday, ending Teacher Appreciation Week, no one could imagine that Parnell would not be coming back to his classroom on Monday.

The accident happened Friday around 4:30 p.m. State troopers say 38-year-old Parnell crashed into the back of a stopped school bus along Highway 401 just south of Lillington.

No children were hurt, but the crash happened right in front of 11-year-old Josh Wilson's home just before he got off the bus.

"The impact was kind of hard," Wilson said. "All I heard was breaking glass and I bent over to see what was happening outside the window on this side where the car hit, and it was pretty bad."

It was unclear what caused Parnell to crash. There were no skid marks, according to Highway Patrol.

No matter what the cause, South View students still grieve their murdered classmate Danielle Locklear, and are now starting another school week with yet another loss.

Grief counselors will visit South View High on Monday for students and staff who may need to talk about this loss.

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