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A Florida school bus monitor faces criminal charges for allegedly choking and tormenting an autistic child throughout the boy's 45-minute ride home. The entire incident was caught on tape.
It started when the 13-year-old boy wet his pants on the bus, reports the New York Daily News.
The school bus monitor, Darryl Blue, was allegedly caught on camera yanking on the child's protective harness from behind, causing the child to scream in pain.
The autistic child was riding a bus for special needs children, and wore a protective harness to keep him safe. Blue's yanking of the harness allegedly left bruises and scrapes around the child's neck; the video reportedly shows the child crying out in pain and repeatedly telling Blue that he's hurting him, writes the Daily News.
Blue has been arrested charged with aggravated child abuse for the alleged incident. Aggravated child abuse is normally reserved for severe acts of child abuse, and can include acts of torture or any act that seriously harms a child.
In this case, prosecutors apprently believe that what the autistic teen endured on the 45-minute bus ride constituted torture or malicious acts. Aggravated child abuse is considered a second degree felony in Florida. If convicted, Blue could face up to 15 years in prison.
The parent of the autistic child also wants prosecutors to seek criminal penalties against the school bus driver, Chelsi Edwards. In the video, the bus driver can be heard scolding the boy for wetting his pants and laughing as Blue allegedly abused the child, reports the Daily News.
As a school employee, the bus driver could have stepped in to stop the alleged abuse, or at a minimum could have reported the abuse to authorities. The bus driver is now suspended.