The chilling cries of an autistic boy writhing in pain as a school bus attendant allegedly choked the special needs student, can be heard in surveillance footage released on Friday – sending shock waves through the community in Deerfield Beach, Florida. ‘You’re hurting, you’re hurting me,’ the unidentified 13-year-old repeatedly yelled out over the course of the 40 minute bus ride, when a special needs assistant, Darryl Blue, 48, tugged on the straps of the boy’s restraining harness after the child wet himself on the bus on October 9.
Blue can be seen yanking the harness around the boy’s neck, which caused him severe pain and despite his cries for help, Blue refused to ease up the hold which left the boy with neck pain and bruising for days. In a police report on the October incident, it appears Blue became annoyed after the child wet himself on the bus and then the student tried to reach out and touch the adult. Grainy footage shows that Blue starts to choke the child with a belt attached to his safety harness, as the boy cries out ‘You’re hurting me,’ which he continued to scream throughout the bus ride. Blue did not stop his actions and at one point on the tape is heard joking to the bus driver, Chelsi Edwards, ‘He won’t be this color when he gets home, he will be raspberry.’ Edwards, though her face is not seen in the footage, can be heard laughing at his comment. Blue, 48, has been arrested and charged with one count of aggravated child abuse. The bus driver has not yet been charged. Blue and the bus driver have not been fired by the school district but have been reassigned to ‘a position away from students,’ Broward school district spokeswoman Marsy Smith told The Miami Herald. The school is conducting an internal investigation but the shocked mother, Bertin Paulino, alleges the school district has been dragging their feet. She said she alerted the school’s transportation supervisor about the incident and nothing was done. The supervisor allegedly told her that what was on the surveillance video was ‘nothing of concern.’ Meanwhile, Paulino has said that her son’s demeanor has changed after the traumatic incident. The 13-year-old no longer wants to attend school at Parkland’s Glades Middle School and is living in a constant state of fear, putting his hands up in self-defense. He is also asking to sleep in his mother’s bed every night. ‘He’s even afraid of me,’ Paulino said. ‘I can’t function right now. I’m in so much pain that I’m numb.’ She also said the boy is showing signs of destructive behavior – breaking his laptop computer, igniting a fire in a trash can and even telling his mother she needs to ‘kill the man who hurt his neck.’ ‘I feel guilty because I feel like I let him down,’ Paulino said. ‘I’m supposed to protect him.’
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