School bus aide charged with child abuse after video shows autistic student hit in the face

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Surveillance video on board a Pasco County school bus showed an aide smacking an autistic student in the face, according to district officials.  James Lambert, 57, was arrested on Friday and charged with child abuse, and the video has angered the victim's mother.

"They've witnessed this evil, rotten person beating on my son," said Lori Lamb.  The New Port Richey resident said she felt betrayed by the bus staffers who were present when her child was hit.  "There's no way around it that he should never have laid a hand on my son."

The video shows the ten year old sitting near the front of the bus, frequently yelling swear words and making noise.  Lambert, who's 6 foot 1 and 250 pounds, makes his way down the aisle, sits in the seat across from the child, and allegedly smacks him in the face.  Lambert is also heard on the video saying 'Do you like it?'  

The Pasco County School District has removed Lambert from any summer school activities, and will hold a hearing to decide whether he'll be fired.  

"It's just the most troubling, sickening, disgusting thing I've ever seen," said Linda Cobbe, school district spokeswoman.  

Lamb said she plans to attend every school board hearing or criminal court proceeding until Lambert is removed from the district and sent to jail.

The child's mother was especially upset that the bus driver wasn't charged in the case as well considering how loudly her son screamed after he was struck in the face.

"How could you not hear that as a bus driver?" Lamb asked.

Lambert is entitled to a hearing about his behavior under terms of the collective bargaining agreement for the union representing school employees.

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