MOON LAKE, Fla. — The Suncoast News reports that Pasco County Schools bus assistant James Lambert resigned last month after being arrested on two counts of child abuse. He was accused of slapping an autistic student on a school bus.
A district spokeswoman told the newspaper that the district had suspended Lambert, who had worked for Pasco County Schools since 1998, and planned to start the process of terminating his employment. Lambert had been reprimanded at least three times in the past due to inappropriate behavior or failure to follow protocol; however, in none of those instances was he accused of hitting a child.
The incident that led to Lambert’s arrest occurred on June 3 on the ride home from Moon Lake Elementary School and was captured on video by a surveillance camera on the bus. Lambert threatened a 10-year-old boy with autism who began cursing, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office told The Suncoast News.
The video shows Lambert walking to the back of the bus and sitting across from the boy, who was restrained in a harness, and slapping him across the face, causing him to yell and moan. The boy then slapped Lambert on the arm, and Lambert slapped the boy on the arm, the video shows. About 15 minutes later in the video, according to the newspaper, Lambert again walks to the back of the bus after he hears loud swearing, sits next to the boy, then begins to walk away before turning around and slapping the boy.
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