A Georgia mother is taking legal action after her special needs daughter suffered injuries from being thrown to the floor of a school bus — and left there for several minutes unaided.
Jonay Owens, 17, was aboard a Fulton County, Georgia, special needs school bus in September 2016 when her wheelchair tipped over, and she fell on the floor of the bus. School bus surveillance video shows both the bus driver and the aide sitting in the back of the bus neglecting to help Owens, who was clearly pinned between the floor and another chair for more than three minutes.
Georgia law firm Merritt & Merritt, who represents Owens and her mother April Moore, released the video on their Facebook page July 24, sharing the details of the incident.
"Jonay was riding a Creekside High School Bus on her way home from school. From the beginning of the bus ride, you will see Jonay’s wheelchair was not properly locked and secured which subsequently lead to her wheelchair flipping, pinning Jonay helplessly against another student’s seat," Owens' family attorney Merritt & Merritt Law Firm wrote on Facebook. "It must be pointed out that Jonay cannot speak or walk and received serious injuries from the incident."
"After the wheelchair turned over, you will see the total disregard from the bus driver and the bus aide, who is sitting in the back right corner of the bus, fail to render assistance until the bus stops at Jonay’s home," the law firm added.
Moore is determined to make other parents to aware that this could happen to any child while they are away at school.
"When I saw the video, I broke down in tears knowing my baby needed me and I wasn’t there. And for them to just sit and do nothing … hurts my heart," Moore said. "Parents, please be aware of your child’s teachers, bus driver, and other school staff because this could have been your child."
According to the law firm, the Fulton County School District has not addressed or offered up any explanation of the incident. A lawsuit is currently pending against the school district in the Superior Court of Fulton County.