Some special visitors will be on hand Thursday at Harrisburg Elementary School. Their presence is one no school principal wants to request.
Crisis team members and counselors will be in classrooms, working with students who had direct contact with 7-year-old Bryson McSweeney and his sister, who is also a student there.
Bryson died Wednesday morning, hours after he rode his bicycle into the path of a car in the Glen Laurel subdivision, next to the school.
Steven Puckett, principal of Harrisburg Elementary, said Wednesday afternoon he has remained in contact with Bryson’s family and they are asking for privacy.
He added that the outpouring of support from the school and community has been overwhelming.
“I’m having to beat people off,” Puckett said. “People want to do something. They want to help.”
The school first notified personnel of Bryson’s death Wednesday morning, and later called parents to notify them and give them the chance to talk with their children.
“We wanted parents to have the first opportunity to talk with their kids about that as they see fit,” Puckett said.
Bryson’s mother told The Herald’s news partner, WSOC-TV, that Bryson loved electronics and the game Minesweeper.
Bryson’s teacher, Hollyanne Shiplett, said in a written statement that the second-grader was liked by all the students in his class and made friends easily.
“Bryson was shy at first, but once he got to know you he opened up,” she said. “At recess, he enjoyed playing tag with his friends.”
Puckett said Bryson was “the epitome of a childhood spirit.”
“He liked to have fun, he liked to play,” he said. “I think that embodied everything when I think of a kid, a childlike spirit – he loved to play tag.”
According to the S.C. Highway Patrol, Bryson was traveling north on Mercer Street on his bicycle about 6 p.m. Tuesday when he ran a stop sign and hit the right front end of an eastbound Honda Accord on Glen Laurel Drive. The boy was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, where he later died. He was not wearing a helmet.
Puckett said the school will have some sort of memorial for Bryson at a later date.