Bus driver investigated for swatting boy

December 3, 2008 3:40:55 PM PST
Suburban Dallas school officials were investigating a bus driver seen in video surveillance swatting and grabbing a seventh-grader inside the parked bus. Video obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday shows the bus driver putting her hands on Kaleb Khonsari, 13. She then swats him. Later, she grabs him and pulls him back to his first row seat. The footage recorded by a school bus camera in late November first aired on Dallas television station WFAA this week.

The female employee, whose name was not released, was on paid administrative leave and district officials were investigating, said Nancy Long, spokeswoman for the Plano Independent School District.

"Plano ISD takes all allegations very seriously," she said in a statement.

Before the bus driver became physically aggressive with Kaleb, she had been scolding him for talking to another student and yelling in the bus. Kaleb also got up from his seat several times while the bus was parked.

Although her son is hyperactive and has discipline problems, Jennifer Khonsari told WFAA that does not excuse the bus driver's behavior.

"Nobody has the right to touch my child except me," she said.

Kaleb told the station that he was constantly harassed by the driver.

"She did it maybe three or four times," Kaleb said of the spankings. "Then she choked me once, and then she like pushed me like two times and then she threw me against the seat once."

Those actions were not shown in the two recordings provided by the school district.

The bus, like other Plano school buses, had a camera on board that captured the argument.

At one point, the driver tells the boy "They ain't gonna take your word." She later points out there's a camera aboard the bus.

Earlier this year, WFAA broadcast video of a different school bus driver in another school district choking a mentally disabled child on a moving bus after the restless boy hurled an aluminum can through the aisle. A grand jury will determine whether the woman, who worked for an agency that provides transportation for Dallas schools, should face criminal charges.

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