Video: Driver 'kicks' autistic child off Hillsborough Co. bus - WFLA News Channel 8

Video: Driver 'kicks' autistic child off Hillsborough Co. school bus

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

For the first time, the public is getting look at a video that shows a Hillsborough County school bus driver pushing a special needs student off the bus last fall.

On September 28, 2012, Tampa police say 42-year-old Stephanie Wilkerson got mad at the 8-year-old autistic child after the girl slapped and pushed her when Wilkerson told the girl to wait her turn getting off. 

Video from a camera mounted on the bus shows the girl standing at the school bus door.   Several minutes later, the video shows Wilkerson kicking the girl in the back, forcing the girl to fall, breaking her ankle.

Steve Hegarty with the Hillsborough County school district said, "we have seen the video too, and if a bus driver or teacher makes contact with a student that results in an injury like that we take that very, very seriously."

Wilkerson was terminated and is now facing aggravated child abuse charges. 

"you are the adult you have to show restraint to are held to a very high standard... and pushing a student where they fall off the bus and injure themselves...it is obviously beyond anything they are allowed to do." added Hegarty.

The firing followed two other incidents involving special education students.  Since then, the district has formed a task force to try and address any issues relative to the way teachers and bus drivers deal with special needs students.

Hegarty went on to say, "we have had a task force and some other groups that have looked at making some changes in terms of how we deal with special education children at the school on the bus in general."

That task force, made up of parents, educators and health professionals has proposed more training for those people who come in contact with special needs students.

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