Autistic Child Abused ON School Bus

Austin School Bus Monitor Accused of Abusing Autistic Child

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AUSTIN, Texas — An Austin parent is pressing charges against a former school employee who’s accused of abusing his child with autism.

The father of two boys at Austin ISD’s Kocurek Elementary said a former bus monitor abused his six-year-old son who has autism. Now the school district police are investigating.

Juan Carlos Fontanez looks out for his younger brother, Jean Paul. “I thank God every day because he’s a special kid,” said their father Luis Fontanez. Fontanez said about two weeks ago Juan Carlos came home upset, saying their bus monitor put tape over Jean Paul’s mouth and sat on him to hold him down. “The first day, I asked my son ‘are you telling the truth? Because someone can get in trouble. Somebody can end up in jail.’ Then he start crying, crying and he said ‘Dad, I am telling the truth.’ So in that moment I trust him.”

Like many autistic children, Jean Paul often repeats words. His big brother claimed the bus monitor put tape on his mouth to keep him quiet and told him not to tell his parents. “He didn’t deserve that, that way. It made me sad, you know?” The family moved to Austin from Puerto Rico several years ago to get Jean Paul better treatment and therapy. Fontanez used to work as a driver on the special needs bus and says he knows the woman who watched over them during the ride. “I never expected that from her.”

Fontanez tells us she confessed the abuse to officers and he’s pressing charges. An Austin ISD spokesperson said the employee has since resigned. Fontanez said from now on he and his wife will be driving the kids themselves.

This is the second incident AISD Police are investigating involving a student at Kocurek Elementary. They tell us parents came forward with allegations about another staff member and, per protocol, that employee is on leave. School district staff said once both of these investigations are complete, they will release more information.

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