Paramus comes together to honor bus crash victims

Posted: Updated:

The grieving community of Paramus came together Sunday for a fundraiser event to benefit those affected by last week's horrific school bus crash.

An overflow crowd turned out for a pancake breakfast that was held Sunday morning. And a memorial of flowers and heartfelt notes continues to grow outside East Brook Middle School.

As News 12 has reported, a school bus carrying students on a field trip collided with a dump truck on I-80 on Thursday. Fifth-grade student Miranda Faith Vargas was killed, as was teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy. Dozens were injured.

"We are hurting. And we are not even starting the grieving process," says Paramus Mayor Richard LaBarbiera. "There's no playbook for what we're going through right now."

Paramus held a memorial service at Our Lady of the Visitation Church Sunday evening. LaBarbiera says the interfaith service was open to all members of the community.

A wake was held Sunday for Vargas at Marrocco Memorial Chapel in Clifton, with a funeral scheduled for Monday.

Visiting hours for teacher Williamson Kennedy will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at Vander Plaat Memorial Home in Paramus. Her funeral will follow the next day at Our Lady of the Vistation Church.

Gov. Phil Murphy has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff.

Donations to help the families of children who were injured in the bus crash can be sent to the Paramus Children's Health Foundation. For more information, head to their website at

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