VIDEO: Girl with autism taunted, dragged by school bus driver

Posted at 3:36 AM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 03:36:21-04

VACAVILLE, CA (KOVR/CNN) – The parents of an 8-year-old girl with autism say they plan to sue the school district after disturbing video surfaced showing a bus driver shove the girl, as another school employee watches then walks away.

School bus surveillance cameras show 64-year-old Kim Klopson taunting an 8-year-old with autism, who was blocking the aisle with her leg.

"And if you stick your feet out again to keep her from moving, you are going to be on the window. Got it?" said Klopson in the February incident.

Police say the bus was on its way to drop off students at Browns Valley Elementary in Vacaville, CA, but video shows, as the children with special needs get off the bus, Klopson grab the 8-year-old’s backpack and order her to stay seated.

"Because you're misbehaving – as always,” said Klopson in the video.

A few minutes later, when a teacher’s aide comes to get the girl, the driver is taunting her as she cries hysterically.

"Because she's acting like she's younger than her baby sister. She's only 2,” Klopson said.

Klopson then closes the bus door, and the aide walks away.

The incident becomes physical.

For almost four more minutes, the driver is alone with the girl, yanking her up and back down, ripping off her jacket and eventually dragging her off the bus.

"It's absolutely bone chilling to see the way this adult woman treats this child,” said the family’s attorney, Micha Star Liberty. "What you're seeing is horrific mistreatment and abuse by an adult bus driver."

The family plans to sue the Vacaville School District, even though the district says it fired the driver right away.

Parents at the school say they still have questions about bus driver training and oversight.

“Every bus driver has an annual evaluation that includes a ride along with a supervisor. Klopson had hundreds of hours of professional development training… including special education training,” a district spokeswoman said.

The 8-year-old’s parents released the video of the incident.

"The district needs to not just train its employees but make sure that training is effective,” Liberty said.

Klopson says the video shouldn’t have been released, saying, "They’ll make a great big deal about that.” She faces a criminal child abuse charge, to which she has pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2018 KOVR, Liberty Law, Vacaville PD via CNN. All rights reserved.