COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A veteran bus driver accused of choking a third-grade special-needs student as she was driving the girl home from school in an encounter captured on video was fired by the school district on Thursday, a district spokesman said.
The Columbus City Schools district fired driver Laura Roberson on a district charge of malfeasance for inappropriate contact with a student, district spokesman Jeff Warner said.
Warner said a surveillance system recorded Roberson on Tuesday afternoon while she drove the 9-year-old student she was driving from school on Tuesday. He was not sure how many other children were on the district bus used to transport special-needs children, and did not know whether the girl required treatment for any injuries.
Roberson, 59, of Canal Winchester, did not immediately return calls to her home.
The district had suspended Roberson without pay pending the Thursday hearing that resulted in her dismissal. No other details of the hearing were immediately released.
Warner says it is not clear what led to the encounter but he said the recording showed that Roberson’s actions “were not physically appropriate.”
He said that the girl’s foster mother reported the matter to police and to the school, but Warner did not know whether criminal charges had been filed.
A police report did not list Roberson as a suspect, The Columbus Dispatch has reported. The report said no weapons were used, but that the student was injured.
Police did not immediately return calls Thursday.
Roberson had been a driver for the 50,000-student district since 1984, and the only other incident reported against her was backing into a stop sign in 2009, Warner said.
He said the district has more than 800 drivers who do great work and have a difficult job.
“But we want to everything we can to protect our students and to ensure that they are transported to school in a safe and caring fashion,” he said.
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