Video shows students bullying Florida 5-year-old with special needs on school bus

School fired bus aide looking for cell phone
Posted at 10:08 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 08:55:52-04

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Florida school officials say a bus attendant has been fired after officials reviewed video from a school bus showing students taunting a child with special needs. 

The video shows a 5-year-old student who is non-verbal being taunted by another student. The student tugs at the child's hair.

"I couldn't even watch the whole thing. It completely broke my heart to even watch it," said Lauren Lardieri, the child's mother.

Lauren Lardieri said school officials at R.H. Prine Elementary School in Bradenton failed to notify her. She found out a week later. School district leaders apologized for the miscommunication. 

Lardieri says the bus attendant seemed more concerned about finding her phone than helping her daughter.

"You're going to see a real ugly side of me if I don't find my phone," the bus aide said during the video.

"My daughter was holding her head and crying and screaming and the bus aide was like 'Oh well. Where's my cell phone?'" said Lardieri. 

The video showed the bus attendant searching book bags appearing to look for her phone. 

At attorney for the Manatee County School District in Florida said the bus attendant was immediately terminated. 

"She was just yelling at the kids, yelling in my daughter's face about her phone and looking for her phone and when she found it, it's like everything calmed down," said Lardieri. 

Manatee County Schools sent ABC Action News the following statement:

"The incident that took place on April 19, 2018, was thoroughly reviewed by the District and action was taken at the District level. Based upon that review, the employee directly involved in the incident was immediately terminated by the District.  Under FERPA, the District is not able to discuss specific students or consequences to those students involved in the incident.  Regrettably, there was late communication between the school and the parent of the student, based upon miscommunication and the belief that the parent had been informed of the incident. Once that miscommunication came to light, the parent was immediately notified.”