Normal Park teacher hospitalized with serious injuries after car crash Monday

Normal Park teacher hospitalized with serious injuries after car crash Monday

January 22nd, 2019 by Meghan Mangrum in Breaking News

UPDATE Saturday Jan. 26: Bethany Schklar died Friday from injuries sustained in the crash.


ORIGINAL STORY: Hamilton County Schools' crisis team was on hand at Normal Park Museum Magnet School Tuesday after Bethany Schklar, a fourth-grade teacher, was hospitalized after a car accident Monday.

The two-vehicle accident occurred just before 9 a.m. Monday at the intersection of Brainerd Road and Elmwood Drive.

Chattanooga police responded to the incident. Three people were transported — two with serious injuries, including Schklar, who remains hospitalized in an intensive care unit.

"Our Crisis Team is in place at Normal Park providing support to children and staff. The Safe Room is available for anyone to visit and discuss their feelings and to get support from a counselor," said Tim Hensley, communications officer for Hamilton County Schools, in an email. "Our extra counselors are there to support the regular school counselors as the school deals with a very difficult situation. The Crisis Team is trained and available to help in these situations."

The school community has rallied around Schklar and her family, and one fourth grade parent created a GoFundMe online donation page for the teacher.

"Mrs. Schklar is an incredible teacher and the immediate outpouring of love and support by parents, colleagues, and students only confirm what Normal Park already has known. What makes Mrs. Schklar truly special is that she is not only a great teacher but she makes sure her students know how smart they are too. She is so affirming and encouraging," said Becky Armstrong, the fourth-grade parent representative at Normal Park, in an email.

Many others echoed Armstrong's thoughts in social media posts about Schklar.

"So many of us have our beloved Bethany Schklar in our hearts and thoughts as she fights for her life after a horrible accident," wrote one Normal Park parent on Facebook. "Bethany is a mom, wife, teacher, friend, and overall amazing person. Right now we're asking that you send the universe a little bit of her energy."

Some community members have been posting photos of themselves jumping with the hashtag #JumpingSelfieforBethany on social media because Schklar is known for her selfies.

"Bethany is the jumping selfie queen, but right now she is fighting for her life. Send some good vibes to the Schklars and of course Bethany's students," said one Facebook user.

Armstrong said that the school community has both Schklar and her family in their thoughts and prayers. She invited community members to donate to the fundraiser, which had already collected more than $2,000 Tuesday night.

"We wish we could do more but prayers, donations, and handmade cards by the students are all we can do right now. We just want Mrs. Schklar and her family to focus on getting better so we can see her contagious smile again soon," Armstrong said.

To donate to the fundraiser, visit:

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.