Community activists are out in force demanding that a school bus aide be held accountable for her treatment of a seven-year-old child with disabilities.

In 2018, a 7-year old girl with disabilities was riding a bus to school when one of the bus aides allegedly treated her horribly. It has been reported that the aide actually struck the child. In addition, the aide is being accused of verbally abusing the girl and using racial slurs towards her.

The girl's mom is not letting the abusive behavior go without a fight. She is suing the Lansingburgh School District and the bus company, the Birnie Bus Service, Inc.

According to Times Union, community activist Jamaica Miles, the organizer of All Of Us Community Action Group, recently watched a video of the incident. Ms. Miles said, “The bus monitor that directly caused harm, should never again in life have contact with someone else’s child, let alone a disabled child.”

Several months ago the girl's mother, Yolanda Richardson, demanded that the school district and the bus company review the video. The video allegedly shows the aide grabbing, yelling, and kicking the girl. Shortly after the bus company reviewed the video, the aide in question was fired and charged with a crime.

Kathy Retos, a 64-years old woman, was arrested and charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person.

A spokesperson for the bus company made a statement. They said, “It was brought to the Birnie Bus Service by Lansingburgh School district in late December 2018 of a concern with transportation of a special needs student. Birnie Bus Service immediately launched an internal investigation along with the authorities and terminated the employee in question as a result of this investigation. The conduct of this individual is not reflective of the high standard of conduct the Birnie Bus Company employees demonstrate each day.“

The child’s mother, in addition to community activists, is pushing for the suspect to be charged with a hate crime because of the racial slurs that she used.

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It’s disgusting that an adult would treat any child so badly, but it’s even worse when the child is already dealing with a disability. Hopefully, the child and her family will see justice served in this case.

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