FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Broward school bus attendant is charged with aggravated child abuse following an incident on a bus last month, a Broward Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson said Thursday.
Darryl Leon Blue, 48, was arrested after the mother of a 13-year-old autistic boy decided to press charges against him.
The boy’s mother, Bertis Paulino, said her son told her the school bus attendant, whom he referred to as Mr. Man, choked him.
“I feel guilty because I feel like I let him down,” Paulino said. “I’m supposed to protect him.”
Bertis Paulino said her son is traumatized following the October 9th incident.
“Right now my son is not himself. He’s very scared. Very nervous,” Paulino explained. Yesterday, he didn’t want to go to school because he kept saying I don’t want to get hurt on the bus.”
Paulino said she was horrified to find marks around her son’s neck last month.
She said he told her it happened at the hands of a school bus attendant.
“I said so what did he do to you,” Paulino said. “He said he came and grabbed me by my neck.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
“It’s a horrible situation that resulted in an arrest,” Spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright explained. “We believe what he did was criminal.”
Coleman-Wright said Blue, who has been a school bus attendant since 2008, is seen on surveillance video yanking on the young boy’s safety harness, causing him to choke and yell in pain.
She said the entire ordeal lasts about 40 minutes as the bus drives the boy from West Glades Middle School in Parkland to his home in Deerfield Beach.
“It is very difficult to watch this video. It’s very disturbing,” Coleman-Wright said.
Paulino hasn’t seen the video yet, but she said she wants to, no matter how hard it may be to watch.
“Some people tell me not to see the video.” Paulino explained. “But I think if I see it I can come to terms with what really happened. Because I don’t know the extent of his pain yet.”
BSO planned to release the surveillance video Friday.
The School Board said Blue had been reassigned to the transportation department away from students as detectives investigate.