Detroit Mother Files $10M Lawsuit After Her Autistic Son Was Physically Restrained On School Bus

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A six-year-old student with autism who was allegedly assaulted is at the center of a $10 million lawsuit. 

“I saw these things on the video and my heart just dropped,” said Talysha Oldham. “And I was in disbelief that someone could do these things to a child, especially a child with special needs that could not communicate or defend themselves. Or let somebody know something was going on with him.”

Oldham is taking legal action against ABC Student Transportation, its former bus driver, and a Detroit Public Schools Community District employee. Oldham stated that the driver sat on, and struck her son Adriel, as he was heading home from Fisher Magnet Lower Academy in Detroit last December. 

“Even if he was hard to restrain or was having a meltdown because of his autism they could’ve stopped the bus,” she said. “They could’ve pulled the bus over, they could’ve called dispatch, they could’ve called me. I would have stopped whatever I was doing, to come to get my child.”

Oldham says no one called her. She only found out about the assault after a student-recorded video of it surfaced on social media. 

The lawsuit Oldham filed alleges that the only adult on the bus, a DPSCD employee, stood by and did nothing as the assault happened.

“We as a society have gotten awfully upset at Will Smith and his behavior striking a man, a comedian, MR. Rock, who arguably could defend himself,” said attorney Arnold Reed. “We’re talking about a child, where is the outrage. Where is the concern?”

Reed and a fellow attorney Harolyn Beverly are representing the family in the suit. Reed stated that Adriel was diagnosed with a mild case of traumatic brain injury after the incident.

I talked with three independent therapists, all who have worked very closely with him,” Reed said. “They said for the first few weeks after this, he was mimicking the behavior that he went through on the bus: Covering his head up; dropping down on the floor; like they threw him; and making the same exact motions, movements, and noises that you hear in that video.”

ABC Student Transportation fired the bus driver, but DPSCD says an investigation cleared its employee of any wrongdoing.

According to the district, they sent out a recommendation to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to press criminal charges against the bus driver, but no charges have been filed as of yet.

“If you have kids with special needs and don’t have the training to deal with them, things like these happen,” Oldham said.



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