CHICAGO (CBS) – Nicky O’Toole has autism and struggles to communicate. For months, when he was just nine years old, he was hit and threatened by his school bus aide and driver. CBS 2’s Dave Savini exposes the video and all that happened to this child.
A nine year old special needs boy hit and threatened on his school bus. The months of torment came from his bus aide and bus driver. CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini exposes the videos and training questions too.
Nicky O’Toole, who has autism, endured months of torment by his school bus aide, Joyce Jones, who was caught on school bus surveillance video.
“Stomp again and I’ll stomp you,” said Jones wile sitting next to Nicky on the bus. “Ow,” said Nicky right afterwards.
The child also was tormented by his bus driver Joseph Hamilton.
“I hate him,” Hamilton can be heard saying on the video.
For months, Leslie O’Toole struggled to figure out why her son, who has trouble communicating, was so unhappy.
“I was noticing he didn’t want to go to school,” said O’Toole. “He would be crying, ‘Mommy I’m scared’.”
O’Toole says because of her son’s limited ability to communicate, he could not explain he was being hit and threatened nor explain who was doing it.
The video shows the boy being hit and he yells, “Ow.”
In another video, the bus driver yells, “You little monster…… I’m going to throw you out the window.”
O’Toole said as she struggled to figure out why her son’s behavior was changing, she initially did not suspect the First Student bus employees.
“I never would have thought it. Not once,” said O’Toole. “I hugged the aide. I thanked the aide for taking care of Nicky.”
Once she became suspicious, District 204 pulled the videos. In one, the pair jokes about slapping Nicky.
“Give me five on that,” said Hamilton the driver. “That little porky. He doesn’t know it. He doesn’t know better.”
“They knew that he couldn’t tell his mom,” said O’Toole who has these two incidents, but describes what was said in another one. “‘What kind of mother would want a child like you’.”
She says months of disturbing videos are in First Student’s possession.
“Nobody screens them,” said O’Toole. “This was over and over and over again.”
There are training questions too. First Student’s contract with the District says they provide, “..a well-developed special-needs training program.”
The bus aide says otherwise, according to O’Toole’s team of attorneys, Michael Krzak of Krzak and Rundio Law and Robert Clifford from Clifford Law Offices.
“She got three days of training, but nothing of it had anything to do with special needs children,” said Krzak.
“First Student failed my child,” said O’Toole. “These two people failed my child.”
There seemed to be some remorse in one of the videos when Bus Aide Joyce Jones admitted slapping the boy.
“What I did today was wrong, very wrong. And it was not like me to do that,” said Jones.
But that turned into a plan to cover themselves.
“We need to write today up, that he’s violent, in order to protect us,” said Jones.
The driver, Hamilton, responded, “Alright”.
Hamilton had no comment for CBS 2. He plead guilty to disorderly conduct and received community service.
CBS 2 was unable to reach Joyce Jones. She was convicted of six counts of misdemeanor battery and was given 30 days in jail. Authorities say she was caught on camera hitting the child at least 27 times.
First Student Statement:
At First Student, the safe and reliable transportation of our student passengers is our highest priority. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. Certainly, we understand and appreciate the concern an incident such as this can cause. When this incident took place more than two years ago, our team immediately investigated the matter and moved to terminate each employee as soon as we were made aware of the specifics.
First Student’s monitors and drivers are highly trained. These actions of our former employees are completely at odds with our training and what we stand for as a company.
We are unable to comment further since the issue is currently in active litigation.