A $15 million lawsuit has been filed against the Newport News School Board and two employees by the father of a student with autism. The lawsuit claims that a bus driver’s assistant hit the child and allowed him to exit the bus partially nude.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Mathew Harvey and his 9-year-old son, alleges that the Newport News School Board failed to protect the Kiln Creek Elementary School student in September. According to the lawsuit, the bus driver’s assistant assaulted the child by hitting him in the face and expressing a desire to “whip his tail.” The child, who is nonverbal and has severe cognitive disabilities and seizure disorders, was then left partially nude when the bus driver and assistant allowed him to disembark without providing assistance or contacting his father.

The bus driver’s assistant, who will not be named due to her acquittal on assault and battery charges, declined to comment when contacted by the investigative team from 10 On Your Side.

The incident occurred on September 30, and it was captured on camera, along with a separate incident the day before. In the earlier incident, the bus driver’s assistant allegedly referred to the student as an “animal” and forcefully restrained another student as he boarded the bus.

Although the Newport News Public Schools were requested to release the video footage under the Freedom of Information Act, they declined, citing the personnel exemption.

According to the lawsuit, the Newport News School Board reviewed the camera footage and acknowledged multiple concerns, describing the actions of the bus driver’s assistant as “callous” and in violation of several policies. In December, both the assistant and the bus driver signed a letter acknowledging the incidents. However, both individuals continue to be employed by the Newport News Public Schools.

The lawsuit seeks $15 million in damages and holds the school board accountable for allegedly failing to protect the student with autism from mistreatment on the school bus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *