Pasco mom of autistic student views recording of slapping incide - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco mom of autistic student views recording of slapping incident

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A still image from the video released by Pasco school officials A still image from the video released by Pasco school officials
PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) -

You can hear the sound of the smack on the video, and Lori Lamb is outraged.

"I hope he burns and rots in hell," Lamb said of James Lambert, a Pasco County school bus assistant accused of hitting Lamb's 10-year-old son Jeffery, who has autism.

A Pasco County school district official showed the video to Lamb Sunday. Lamb said the incident happened early last week.

More: Pasco mom wants bus assistant fired

Lambert, who lives in Hudson, has been charged with two counts of child abuse. He was released from the Pasco County Jail after posting a $10,000 bond.

In the video, a man identified as Lambert is seen striking Jeffery several times on a school bus. Lambert curls his fist at one point, but does not strike the child. Investigators tell us Lambert heard the child cussing before approaching him.

"This is disgusting, it's disgusting," Lamb said. "You could see him in a full swing, a full swat. It's not once, it's not twice, and he smacked him more than several times."

While watching the video Lamb asked Melissa Musslewhite, who is director of Student Support, Programs and Services at the Pasco County school district, how an incident like that could happen.

"And the bus driver didn't see any of this?" Lamb asked.

Musslewhite said school district officials are reviewing all of the recordings from the bus.

"They're reviewing all of the tapes, like I said there’s three cameras on this bus, so transportation is reviewing all of them," Musslewhite said.

Lamb invited News Channel 8 to watch the video recordings with her. A News Channel 8 reporter and photographer were able to see one of two video recordings. Musslewhite requested the News Channel 8 photographer stop video-taping before she would show Lamb a second, closer angled recording of the incident.

"I just don't know how a man could haul off and smack an autistic boy," Lamb said. "He's a big man, he's not some 98 pound weakling, and he's 57 years old. Shame on him."

Lamb said the district has offered counseling to her son after the incident. Lamb wants more accountability and more cameras.

"I think there is more to this story than meets the eye," said Lamb.

"I don't know how with the kinds of kids that were on the bus how we can determine whether the bus driver knew what was going on," Pasco County school district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said Sunday night.

Cobbe said Lambert has worked at the school district since 1998.

"I checked with our employee relations department, they don't have any file on him," Cobbe said.

"I just don't know how a man could haul off and smack an autistic boy," Lamb said. "He's a big man, he's not some 98 pound weakling and he's 57 years old. Shame on him.”

While Pasco school district officials plan to review other tapes from the bus Cobbe said that might be difficult."On so many of our buses the video is VHS," Cobbe said. "It's low quality, sometimes they're broken or we get to look at something and it wasn't running."

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