Cape Coral community prays for no bus stop tragedies this school year

A community is honoring the lives lost at school bus stops last year. They lit lanterns for Alana Tamplin and Layla Aiken Friday night. The two girls will not have the chance to wake up to the excitement of the first day of school next week.

Kathleen Aiken has a last message for her daughter Friday night.

“That I miss her,” Kathleen said.  “It’s the one resounding feeling that I have. You know, you go through angry and sad and feeling alone. But, the one overwhelming feeling I have, the feeling I’ll feel for the rest of my life is how much I’ll miss her.”

Other parents joined Kathleen Friday night as they geared up for the start of the school year. They want to celebrate the new beginning, yet they could not do it without a remembrance of Layla and Alana.

“I know that a piece of her is missing and I just wanted this to fill a part of that piece,” said Nicole Fitzpatrick, an organizer for Benches For Our Babes. “I know it’s not gonna do it completely, but just to have people around her to feel that love that’s what I wanted.”

Collectively, they prayed another tragedy does not strike at a bus stop this upcoming school year. Kathleen said she owes that to the memory of her daughter because she was not there on the March morning she died.

“Hopefully,” Kathleen said, “my actions can save somebody else’s baby.”

Then, they released lanterns with notes for the girls. It was an opportunity to look back at the changes, so many worked to make. As well as an opportunity to look towards the future.

“When you’re driving to work, there are children out there whether they’re in the grass or on the road,” Nicole said. “It’s your job behind the wheel of that car to pay attention to your surroundings.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Michael Mora