January 2011



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Page Last Updated: Saturday November 20, 2010 12:00am PST

A Washoe County school bus driver has been fired and an aide is on probation after an incident on a special needs school bus involving a 6 year old student who has autism.

A videotape shows the bus driver and the aide covering the child’s face with a rag after she began spitting on the bus.

After almost a month long investigation the school district fired the driver yesterday, but the student’s parents say more needs to be done and they are pressing for criminal charges to be filed.

“It was really disturbing for me, because you see my daughter begging for her mother while the bus driver is repeatedly insisting she’s going to the police.” said Jeremy Hagblom, 6 year old Tierstan Hagblom’s father.

Hagblom says he and his wife were shocked to see what happened to their daughter on the school bus home from Caughlin Ranch Elementary School on October 22nd.
“On that tape the bus driver and aide were trying to stop my daughter from spitting by repeatedly placing a rag over her face, nose and her eyes.”

In a school district incident report…the driver says quote, “we just want to protect other students from contamination from her since we don’t know if she has any issues about health, such as hepatitis or HIV.”

Tierstan was having a “stimming” episode something that happens to children with autism when they are overstimulated or upset.

Her father says they were notified an incident had taken place by the district over the phone that afternoon, but he became much more concerned after seeing the video from the bus almost two weeks later.

“I feel like the video was more serious than the picture painted over the phone.”
Hagblom says not only did the employees make the wrong call with the rag over his daughter’s face, he says she is still traumatized by the verbal threats that were made as well about the police.

“I feel like she’s been acting out more. In addition, occasionally we’re still getting the question whether or not she’s going to be arrested. She doesn’t know how to process that information.”

The Washoe County School District says the bus driver was removed immediately from his job the day after the incident, and was officially terminated yesterday for his actions.

“In our opinion there wasn’t intent to hurt the child in any way and again in some ways we looked at the situation and the driver was trying to protect other kids, just making some real poor choices,” said senior administrator Rick Harris.

Harris says both the district’s legal department and school police investigated the incident over the last few weeks and found no cause for criminal charges to be filed.
He says school bus drivers are thoroughly trained and this incident was extremely unfortunate and unusual.

“Between fifteen to 30 thousand kids ride buses everyday, 99 percent of the time the drivers make good choices unfortunately in this instance the choice was not good.”
The Hagbloms are happy to hear the bus driver has been fired and the aide put on probation, but still would like to see the driver prosecuted for assault.

Read in Full/View Video:  http://www.mynews4.com/story.php?id=32495&n=122

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