The director has had a hectic turn of the year. Very different from what she had envisioned. The crisis team of Het Assink was convened immediately after it became known that a 12-year-old student from the first year of pre-university education had died in the ‘hammer drama’. A school community with multiple locations.
Besides in neighboring municipalities, Het Assink has two locations in Haaksbergen: De Bouwmeester (1200 students) and Van Brakelstraat (500 students). But despite the large student numbers, many students know each other personally. Because Haaksbergen has always been a close-knit community, where a lot of joy and sorrow is shared. the much vaunted noaberhulp, for which the Twente countryside is so famous, is still written in capital letters in certain sections of the local population.
The crisis team of Het Assink meets often. As undoubtedly happened at the time around the monster truck drama.
“We have a calamity protocol, like every school has,” says director Hegeman. “We adjust this protocol every year. We use it more often. Usually more internally. In the three years that I have been here at Het Assink, this is by far the most severe calamity I have experienced.”
Although the school is currently closed for holidays, an exception was made this morning. Precisely to offer those directly involved in the hit-and-run drama the opportunity to meet each other. And to be able to share the experiences of that tragic event on New Year’s Eve with each other as much as possible. Direct classmates of the deceased victim, but also teachers and possibly other employees of the school. “This is important for processing”, says director Hegeman.
Received at school
In the morning, first employees of the school were received, after which the victim’s classmates came to school around noon. It was they who subsequently decorated the memorial site. Other students and parents can visit that place this afternoon and possibly leave a personal greeting.
In the meantime, the Haaksberg community is still plunged into great mourning. A small monument has now been erected on the verge along the Albert Cuyplaan, where the accident happened, where fellow villagers offer their condolences. Flowers, a letter with a child’s handwriting, a stuffed animal, a lantern with a burning tea light.
Many residents of ‘de Ster van Twente’ – as the village likes to call itself – know not only the parents of the victim, but also the man who operated the hammer. He has been arrested for culpable homicide and is still in custody. The investigation is mainly aimed at finding out what went wrong. Whether the Haaksbergen resident may have acted negligently or whether there may be another cause on which he had no further influence.
According to local residents, the metal shell – which must contain the explosive powder mixture that is detonated by the hammer – has been torn apart for unknown reasons. The metal splinters then flew in all directions like shrapnel.
The 12-year-old boy was hit in his chest area, an 11-year-old boyfriend in his two lower legs. Incidentally, the 11-year-old is not a student of Het Assink, but is still in primary school.
Many residents of Haaksbergen not only sympathize with the relatives of the fatal victim, but also with their fellow townsman who is currently behind bars. Due to so-called restrictions imposed by the judiciary, the man is not allowed to have any contact with his family. The only ones he is allowed to see and speak to is his lawyer Janbart Kalk and the detectives who question him. The man is known in the area as a respectable family man.
His lawyer previously pleaded with RTV Oost for a thorough investigation into the cause: “It is in everyone’s interest that this accident is investigated to the bottom. In the interest of the next of kin of the fatal victim, in the interest of the injured boy’s family and also in the interest of my client and his family.”
“All in all, this is a horrific accident and a case that only knows losers,” says director Ingrid Hegeman. “When I speak for our school, our greatest concern is now our students and our employees. And we do this as much as possible in coordination with the parents of the student in question.”
The intention is that the memorial site will remain in the school for the coming weeks. So that as many students as possible can reflect on the loss of their deceased schoolmate. “We have already had a very difficult time due to corona. Tonight we will hear during the press conference whether we can open again, but we now sincerely hope that we can go back to school later. It is important that we do this as much as possible. trying to process each other”, director Hegeman concludes.