Autistic Girl's Family Releases Video Of School Bus Driver's Alleged Abuse
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Parents say their autistic child was attacked on a school bus by her own bus driver, and it was all caught on camera.
The disturbing video shows the bus driver's interaction with the child who was just 8 years old and diagnosed with autism.
The incident happened back in February. The driver is no longer with the school and faces a criminal child abuse charge.
But the family attorney released the video to CBS13, as it prepares to sue the district.
The school bus surveillance cameras are rolling as the driver confronts an 8-year-old girl with autism, blocking the aisle with her leg.
"And if you stick your feet out again to keep her from moving, you are going to be on the window. Got it?" she told the girl.
Police say that bus driver is 64-year-old Kim Klopson of Vacaville. They say she was on her way to drop off students at Browns Valley Elementary, but as the special-needs kids get off the bus, Klopson grabs the girl's backpack and orders her to stay seated.
"Because you're misbehaving, as always," she said.
A few minutes go by and a teacher's aide comes to get the girl. But the driver is now taunting her, as she cries hysterically.
"Cause she's acting like she's younger than her baby sister," She's only 2, How old are you?" she said.
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Then, Klopson closes the bus door. The aide walks away. And it gets physical.
"You done, let's go," the driver says.
For almost four more minutes, the driver is alone with the girl. yanking her up and back down, ripping off her jacket, and eventually dragging her off the bus…as the aide finally comes back to get her.
It's bone-chilling," said Micha Star Liberty, who is representing the family in its plans to sue the Vacaville School District.
"What you're seeing is horrific and abuse by an adult bus driver," said Liberty.
The district says it fired the driver right away. She has pleaded not guilty to a child abuse charge.
But parents here say they still have questions about bus driver training and oversight.
"I would like to know what kind of training programs they have in place and after the training programs, are they following up?" said Priyanka Modi as she was picking up her kids.
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A district spokeswoman tells us, in part:
"Every bus driver has an annual evaluation that includes a ride along with a supervisor. Klopson had hundreds of hours of professional development training, including special education training."
"The district needs to not just train its employees but make sure that training is effective," said Liberty.
As for the bus driver, we tried talking to her about this story. We called and went to her house, but she wasn't there. She's due back in court in July.
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