FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie has responded to a surveillance video that showed a man, believed to be a school bus attendant, choking a 13-year-old boy with autism, the district said Sunday.
In a statement obtained exclusively by CBS 4 News’ Lauren Pastrana, a school district spokesperson said, “Superintendent Robert Runcie is moving forward for the immediate termination of the bus attendant and the bus driver from the October 2012 incident (on a school bus).”
The boy’s mother, Bertis Paulino, said she received a personal phone call from Runcie Sunday to let her know he’s taking the case seriously.
Paulino said the Ocotber 9th incident left her son traumatized.
The Deerfield Beach mother said the harness that was supposed to protect her little boy was used to hurt him instead.
“This is device my son was wearing and this was around his neck like this,” Paulino gestured with the harness Friday. “He was pleading and howling like an animal in pain.”
In the video, the boy can be heard saying, “Ow, you’re hurting me.”
When Paulino’s son told her about the incident on a Broward School bus, she said she immediately reached out to the School Board.
Now, more than a month later, she’s been told Runcie plans to recommend to the board that bus attendant Darryl Blue and driver Chelsi Edwards be terminated.
“What he did, we believe is criminal,” Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Veda Coleman-Wright said.
Darryl Blue is charged with felony aggravated child abuse.
Detectives said he’s the man in the video seen yanking on the boy’s harness while the 13-year-old begs him to stop.
“He’s really shaken about it,” Blue’s sister said Friday outside his Fort Lauderdale home. “It’s not something he would normally do. It’s not. There was no intention to hurt the child.”
But Blue wasn’t the only adult on the bus.
The driver, Chelsi Edwards, is heard laughing several times during the trip from Westglades Middle School in Parkland to the boy’s home in Deerfield Beach.
Paulino wants to press charges against Edwards, claiming she instigated the abuse after her son urinated in his pants.
“No parent should go through this,” Paulino said. “I have given my son a very good life and now his life is shattered.”
Blue has been reassigned to a job away from students.
He it out of jail on $7,500 bond. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.