Like many eight year olds, Harmoney Harper was excited about starting the new school year at Oaklawn Elementary in Wichita, Kansas, earlier this month.
Even though her first day was a blast, Harmoney never made it to her second day, and her family and local community have been left devastated.
On Wednesday, August 16th, Harmoney was awaiting her school bus alongside her brother outside their residence when she was struck by another school bus.
First responders swiftly arrived at the scene, but she remained unresponsive, eventually passing away despite resuscitation efforts.
This heart-wrenching incident transpired around 07:20am, and it remains unclear how many students were aboard the bus during the accident. Authorities have since confirmed that there were no other injuries sustained.
Jasper Harper, Harmoney’s father, recounted the dreadful sequence of events, saying: “My wife said she heard my son screaming for his sister, and she came outside. I got woke up to ‘I need you now.’ I got dressed. Before I made it to the front door, I had heard, ‘Call 911, my daughter’s dead.’ She was playing outside her home, where she felt safe.”
Neighbors were alerted to the tragedy by Harmoney’s mother screaming: “Oh my God, oh my God, my baby,” something no parent should ever have to say. One neighbor recalled: “I just wish I could hug the mother right now. I wish that she knew that there are tons of people out here praying for her tonight.”
Another nearby resident expressed sympathy for Harmoney’s family, as well as the bus driver, adding: “I can only imagine what the bus driver is feeling. To hear the mother screaming ‘oh my god, oh my god,’ it just broke my heart.” Law enforcement officials have revealed that they do not anticipate filing any charges in connection with the incident.
Following the tragic loss of their daughter, Harmoney’s family has started a GoFundMe account to assist with funeral expenses. The description of the campaign reads: “If you are unable to make a donation, please leave prayers and encouraging words for this family.” At the time of writing, the page had garnered 650 donations, totaling $30,031.
In the days following the young girl’s passing, members of the Wichita, Kansas community have shared their personal experiences with Harmoney. Oaklawn Elementary Principal Donna Osborn praised Harmoney, describing her as “full of compliments for everyone around her.”
She then went on to say, “Any time you would see her, she had a smile on her face and was always the first to give everyone a hug each day. Her passing is a tremendous loss, and Harmoney will be missed greatly at Oaklawn.”
Superintendent Heather Bohaty also expressed her sorrow over the young girl’s passing.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our students,” she remarked, adding that “students and staff will be supported by additional social workers from schools across our district” as they grieve.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Harmoney’s family and friends at this tragic time.