March 07, 2018 10:29 PM
The Mounds View school district confirms it is investigating an allegation that a 13-year-old special needs student was assaulted while he was being driven to school by employees of a transportation company Tuesday.
The mother of the student told KSTP she did not want her family's identity revealed publicly, and said her son told her it was the van driver's aide who assaulted him.
"My son has autism, and he can act out at times," she said. "And he told me the van driver's aide warned him to stop doing what he was doing or he would be hit. And my son said she then elbowed him in the chin and backhanded him across his cheek."
The mother said the district was informed of the incident. But she decided to file a complaint with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office Wednesday when the same van driver's aide showed up to take her son to school.
"She was on the van with no apparent consequence," she said. "And when I talked with the transportation company that operates the vans, they told me the driver had not turned on the van's recording device to capture what happened. I was just shocked because that is protocol."
The student was being transported to Capitol View Learning Center in Little Canada.
Mounds View school district public relations assistant Rachel Gutierrez issued a statement on behalf of the district Wednesday.
"Mounds View Public Schools is responsible for providing transportation to its resident students who attend some educational programs outside the district," the statement read. "Mounds View subcontracts this service to Twin (City) Transportation among other bus companies. Mounds View's transportation department received a report in the afternoon on March 6 of an alleged incident that occurred during a Twin (City) Transportation route to a program outside the district.
"Twin (City) Transportation is investigating the incident and has honored the District's request to remove the aide from all Mounds View Public Schools transportation routes. It is the District's expectation that video recording devices be used on all Mounds View Public Schools routes. This has been clearly communicated to Twin (City) Transportation. We were surprised and disappointed to learn that the video device was not active on the route and have shared our concern with Twin (City) Transportation.
"Mounds View will fully cooperate with any investigation undertaken by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department."
The attorney for Twin City Transportation, Inc., Michael Weidner, told KSTP the company has disciplined the van driver and his aide. But not for the alleged assault.
Weidner issued this statement:
"At this time, the aide has been removed from the route in question, and has been suspended pending our investigation. This investigation is also being undertaken with regard to the operational aspect of the onboard camera. Twin City Transportation takes these allegations very seriously, and is determined to give all parties their due process.
"If the allegations are confirmed, it could lead to termination of all involved persons. We hope to have our investigation wrapped up very soon."
The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office said it can not confirm, nor deny, the existence of any investigation.
Updated: March 07, 2018 10:29 PM
Created: March 07, 2018 09:00 PM
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