Teachers and administrators at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill are bracing for the inevitable outpouring of grief, anger, and shock among students after the hit-and-run deaths of two popular freshman boys Friday.
Michael Taylor and Mark McNeill, both 15, were killed when a speeding car that police said was driven by Maurquis Javon Thompson, 19, of Chester, hit them while they were crossing Chester Pike in Glenolden. Friends of the teens held a vigil there Saturday night.
Extra guidance counselors and crisis intervention specialists from Project REACH will be on hand at the start of classes, said Stephen Butz, superintendent of the Southeast Delco School District.
"With these two deaths, this has to be one of the most difficult situations the district has ever had to deal with," he said.
"A number of administrators and teachers knew them quite well. They were really good kids, and a lot of their friends have been deeply affected by what took place."
The school district has 4,200 students. Butz said the high school would use the first period Monday to discuss what happened around 9:35 p.m. Friday. "We'll be sharing information and talking with students about the impact and how it affects them," he said.
Police said Thompson was pulled over for speeding in neighboring Folcroft but raced off, running a red light and striking the teens.
He was charged with seven criminal counts, including vehicular homicide while driving under the influence. He is being held on $1 million bail.
"The main thing is to make sure we celebrate their lives and keep their memories alive," said Edward Small, principal of Academy Park High School.