A school bus driver has admitted to slapping a 10-year-old girl for not wearing her face mask properly. The Colorado school bus driver caught on video slapping the young girl has since been fired and faces multiple charges.
A surveillance camera caught Bertram Jaquez on camera smacking a student in the face over a mask dispute. The video shows the bus driver confronting the girl at her seat on the vehicle. She allegedly moved the mask under her nose because she said, "I get sick from mask[s]," according to a statement the girl wrote about the incident that occurred in Fremont County.
Other children on the bus told the unnamed girl to put her mask back on. The girl wrote that she "yelled at them and said you shut up your [sic] not involved in this." When she didn't put her mask on correctly, the other kids informed the bus driver.
The bus driver told the child to put her mask all the way on, but she refused. "Out of reaction, I slapped her once," Jaquez said in a written statement to the school district.
In her written statement to the school district, the 10-year-old girl said, "The bus driver slapt [sic] me."
Jaquez was immediately placed on administrative leave after the video surfaced and is reportedly no longer employed by the school district.
"Our school community is experiencing a very unfortunate situation," a spokesperson for the Fremont County School District said in an email. "We have had a bus driver strike a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus."
KKTV published the statement from the Fremont County School District on the incident:
We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child. The District responded quickly to the situation by placing the driver on administrative leave so that we could fully investigate the incident. Local police were involved during the investigation as well as us being in contact with the child's family. The driver's action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values. We are very saddened by this incident. Our goal every day is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follows the rules. We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.
The disturbing incident was investigated by the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. Jaquez reportedly faces misdemeanor charges, including harassment, assault causing injury, and child abuse.
Content warning: Disturbing video:
This ugly school incident stemming from face coverings comes less than a week after a video of a Wisconsin teacher verbally abusing a student for not wearing a mask went viral. The teacher was caught on video calling the high school student a "jerk" and a "dummy."