April 6, 2012

Kim Stagliano Sues The Bus Company That Allowed The Abuse Of Her Bella

Mother sues bus company over daughter's treatment

This story is so hard for me.  Because of who Kim is and because who Bella is.

First they are my friends, and I am horrified that this happened to them.

Second Kim is a nationally known autism activist and author, and if someone feels bold enough to abuse her daughter, then none of our children are safe.

Lastly, and most importantly, if you have ever met Bella, you know she is a complete angel.  She is so interested in people, and wants to engage them, but can only say, "Hello" and "Momma" and is just... well a total angel.  When she met Chandler, she was taken by him, but silly boy apparently not at the point where he noticed cute girls yet.

When someone can be so monstrous to do this to a little girl as sweet and precious as Bella, for literally no reason, even taunting her mother after she leaves the bus... to say that this is a difficult story for me is an understatement.

Once upon a time I thought, "gosh... if people would just work out their differences and stop suing each other...."  Now I understand that when it comes to protecting our vulnerable kids, they are necessary.  I understand that on many occasions the only reason that my son is being treated appropriately is because those that came before me sued the pants off of (insert entity here) and forced them to take the rights of disabled children seriously.

Go get 'um Kim.  So that for years providers will point to this case and say to their employees, "Yes I know reviewing hours of video tape is boring, but if we miss something and a child is being hurt, we could loose our shirts and have to shut down."  Because for too many people, the idea of loosing lots of money will motivate is a way that the thought of an abused child on their watch never will.

BRIDGEPORT -- The mother of a 9-year-old Trumbull girl with autism, who police said was abused by an aide on her school bus while the aide's mother was busy texting while driving the bus, is suing the bus company.
Kimberly Stagliano claims, in her lawsuit filed Thursday in Superior Court, that First Student Inc. breached its responsibility to provide her daughter, Isabella, with safe transportation to and from school.
"As a direct result of the conduct of First Student Inc. and its employees, the minor child suffered permanent personal injuries and damages," said Stagliano's lawyer, Michael Meehan. "In particular, the conduct of First Student Inc.'s employee has had an emotional and educational impact on Miss Stagliano."
Officials of First Student, of Cincinnati, did not immediately return calls for comment.
Last April, 24-year-old Jennifer Davila, a school bus aide for First Student, was given a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to second-degree reckless endangerment based on allegations that she abused the girl. Her mother, Evelyn Guzman, a school bus driver, received accelerated rehabilitation, a program for first-time nonviolent offenders.
According to police, on at least three occasions in April and May 2010, Davila, a monitor on a bus for special needs children for First Student, abused the little girl. Police said there could have been more incidents but only three were captured on the bus's video surveillance camera.
Police said the girl's parents were trying to figure out how their nonverbal daughter kept getting bruises and sprained fingers on her right hand when on May 19 they received a call from the nurse at Frenchtown Elementary School that their daughter had arrived at school that morning crying hysterically. The parents then demanded to see the video from their daughter's school bus.
That video, which also had audio, showed Davila grabbing the girl's hands and the girl then crying out in pain.
Police said they then obtained DVD copies of the bus videos for April 27, April 29 and May 19, 2010. On April 27 and May 19, the driver of the bus is Davila's mother.
Police said the April 27 video shows Davila putting her hands in the area of the girl's hands during the bus ride from the school to the girl's home. With each movement, the girl's cries get louder.
On the April 29 video, Davila is heard telling a substitute driver to stop at the girl's home first after they leave the school. "Because she (the girl) will (obscenity) her pants," she explains. Within minutes of leaving the school, the video shows Davila again reaching toward the girl's hands, and the girl is heard crying.
On May 19, the girl is seen on the video boarding the bus with her mother, who assists her to her seat. When the mother leaves the bus, Davila is heard saying, "Goodbye mom." She then touches the girl's head twice and then grabs the girl's right hand and begins to manipulate it as the girl whimpers.
Police said Guzman had been captured on the bus's video camera texting more than 1,000 times as she drove a bus load of special needs children between April and May 2010.
dtepfer@ctpost.com; 203-330-6308; http:// twitter.com/dantepfer


K. said...

Horrifying. I hope she cleans them out and shuts them down forever.

Denise Riley said...

Seriously....somebody would have to restrain me if they ever did that to my daughter!!! I would so be on jail! This reminds me so my of my baby....I'm sure she could not tell me if somebody is hurting her.