Detroit — In a month already marked by the loss of five of their classmates, Detroit Public Schools students are reeling from another death.
Eleven-year-old Tiffany DiCicco-Ross, a fifth-grader at Phoenix Multicultural Academy, was killed Thursday as she was leaning out of a school bus window, talking to friends outside, and her head slammed into a tree branch as the bus pulled away.
“It’s a sad day for Detroit Public Schools,” said Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency financial manager.
“There’s not a whole lot that one can say to the parents when they bring their children to our schools and they expect that at the end of the day their children will return home safely,” he said.
Bobb said crisis teams will be at the school today to meet with students and staff, particularly the students who were on the bus when the incident occurred.
About 3:10 p.m. Thursday, Tiffany was on the bus with her brother on Pershing near Central on the city’s southwest side. There were 10 students on the bus, Detroit Public School officials said.
There were reports that another sibling, a sister, was also on the bus, but Detroit Public Schools officials could not confirm that.
The girl, who former classmates described as slight in stature, was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Police Department investigators spent several hours Thursday afternoon taking photos of the bus and going over the scene before the bus was hauled away around 6:15 p.m. The bus is operated by DFT transportation, a company that recently lost its contract with the district.
Tiffany attended the academy with her sister and brother.
A woman at the scene with two youngsters who are former students of Phoenix Academy said she always felt bus aides were needed on school buses to make sure children are safe when riding.