A Colorado school bus driver has admitted that he slapped a 10-year-old girl over a dispute involving how she was wearing her face mask.
Not that Bertram Jaquez needed to confess, because surveillance video on the bus appeared to capture the disturbing moment in its entirety.
The troubling incident reportedly took place last month in Fremont County, which is just south of Colorado Springs. It was prompted by an argument between students on properly wearing a mask.
“In a written statement to the school, the 10-year-old girl says she wasn’t feeling well so she moved her mask below her nose,” KKTV reported. “She goes on to say the bus driver, Bertram Jaquez, came to the back of the bus to see what was happening. She writes he tried to move her mask up, and then she says he slapped her for not moving the mask up.”
“Out of reaction, I slapped her once,” the driver admitted in a written statement to the school district.
*Caution: Disturbing Content
After being placed on administrative leave, Jaquez would eventually be fired. He’s facing misdemeanor charges including harassment, assault causing injury, and child abuse, according to the CBS affiliate.
“We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child,” the Fremont County School District said. “The District responded quickly to the situation by placing the driver on administrative leave so that we could fully investigate the incident. Local police were involved during the investigation as well as us being in contact with the child’s family. The driver’s action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values.”
“We are very saddened by this incident. Our goal every day is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follows the rules,” the release added. “We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.”
The student’s handwritten statement can be seen here:
As might be expected, the story drew some angry responses from social media users.
Here’s a quick sampling of reactions to the story from Twitter… Caution: Strong Language:
Who we go?? Putting hands on a child is not the way you handle anything.
— Mica (@WestGaylor) May 18, 2021
Bully. Asshole. Needs to treated the same. By someone much bigger and badder.
— david leathers (@4stringerDavid) May 18, 2021
you lousy SOB!!
— Linda (@Belinda85659086) May 18, 2021
Fire his ass. Make sure he never works with another child again and make sure he is charged with child abuse.
— martina (@martinraylynn) May 18, 2021
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