CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) — A Chicago Heights bus driver is sounding the alarm about bullying on a school bus.
He said he raised the issue weeks ago, but nothing’s been done.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey was pushing for answers Thursday evening.
Octavion, 11, got a ride home from school on Thursday and did not take the bus.
“He can’t distinguish between people playing and people being cruel to him and I’m not going to subject him to that,” said Octavion’s aunt, Ashley Louden.
Octavion has autism and is completely nonverbal. His aunt said she didn’t know he was being bullied on the school bus until a bus driver witnessed it.
That Chicago Heights bus driver also happens to be Octavion’s dad.
“Why would they think that we would care about our children?” asked David Louden, who started driving for the district this summer.
He was shocked to learn that the special needs students who attend the local school called SPEED were bused in the afternoon alongside the children from RISE, a school for kids with behavioral issues.
“This is the district’s thought to put these kids together. It makes absolutely no sense,” Louden said.
It wasn’t long before Louden witnessed his son and other speed students being harassed and bullied on the bus.
Other bus drivers said it’s been an ongoing issue. But when he reported it to his supervisor and then to the district about three weeks ago, nothing changed.
“(The) bus routes still the same today,” he said.
CBS 2 went to District 170’s superintendent for answers. Thomas Amadio said he can’t disclose information about specific students, but said that they are currently investigating the concerns raised.
Louden wanted to know why it doesn’t appear they weren’t investigated when he raised them. And in the meantime, Octavion’s family is pulling him off the bus.
“I had to deal with bullying too, but I could defend myself. He can’t,” said his aunt.
Louden said other bus drivers have been afraid to speak out about the issue for fear of losing their jobs. He’s putting in his two weeks notice and hoping that will help send a message.