CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, S.C. — A school district here is looking to add aides on special-needs school buses after an autistic student was assaulted by another student while on the bus, WPDE reports.
The incident reportedly happened in November during morning and afternoon school bus routes, according to the news source. Video footage, obtained by WPDE, shows the student being kicked, punched, bitten, and slapped by a 9-year-old student on the bus. The bus driver continues driving, and when he reaches the student’s bus stop, he tells the 4-year-old’s parents that he wasn’t sure why the student was crying. In an incident report, according to the news source, the bus driver said he had no idea what was taking place, and he was charged with unlawful neglect toward a child because he didn't ensure the safety of all students on his bus.
Patrick McLaughlin, an attorney representing the 4-year-old student’s family, released a statement on the family’s behalf, WPDE reports, detailing the incident and the family’s concerns about not enough being done by the district to prevent such incidents from happening. Ken Buck, the public information officer for Chesterfield County School District, released a statement to the news source saying that the district began working with the state Department of Education’s driver trainer in September to assess the district's protocols for special-needs bus routes. Buck added that they are “looking at options to obtain monitors with current personnel, as well as possibly hiring positions, which we were doing before the incident.” He also said that the district placed the bus driver on administrative leave while they investigate the matter.
The state Department of Education told WPDE that school districts have to provide a monitor or aide on special-needs buses if a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) calls for one.
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