A Colorado school bus driver is no longer employed and facing criminal charges after video was captured of the driver slapping a 10-year-old girl for not properly wearing her mask.
In video obtained by KKTV Colorado Springs, the bus driver, identified by the Fremont County School District as Bertram Jaquez, is seen talking to the girl, who has her mask down, before slapping her face.
The incident occurred in April, and Jaquez resigned before the district could take action. But Jaquez is now being charged with several misdemeanors, including harassment, assault causing injury and child abuse.
The 10-year-old said in a written statement to the school district on April 14 that other kids were telling her to put her mask on, but she didn’t want to because masks make her sick. When she asked Jaquez why she had to wear her mask, he and other kids told her it was the rule.
“I yelled at them and said you shut up your [sic] not involved in this,” the girl said before she says she was slapped.
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Jaquez admitted to slapping the girl, telling the school district that “Out of reaction, I slapped her once.”
The school district said in a statement that Jaquez’s actions were enough cause for termination and the “community is experiencing a very unfortunate situation.
“We have had a bus driver strike a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus. We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child,” the statement said. “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, follow the rules. We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.”
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