PGCPS Bus aide charged with assaulting child en route to school for students with special needs

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DeQuan Brooks (Prince George’s County Police Department)

Dan Morse

A school bus aide was charged with assaulting a 7-year-old boy on the way to his school for children with special needs — an attack Prince George’s County police said they learned about only after reviewing bus security video that told a different story than the one provided by three adults on the bus.

Those adults, according to police, first told officers that the child had “acted out and attempted to throw [the aide’s] cellphone out of a window.” Officers found no evidence to support that claim, police said Sunday.

Instead, police say, surveillance video showed the aide grabbing the child, shoving him into several seats, and assaulting him “about the head and neck.” The child suffered bruises to his neck.

Police charged the aide, DeQuan Brooks, 22, of Laurel, with second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault, according to court records. He was being held Sunday on no-bond status.

The three adults on the bus, including Brooks and the driver, “have been reassigned and removed from contact with students, pending the outcome of the investigation,” said John White, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Public Schools system.

He said the system’s security and transportation departments are cooperating fully with the police on the case.

The incident unfolded Thursday morning.

Transportation officials called 911 to report a disorderly student aboard a bus headed to the Foundation School in Largo. Officers met the bus at Annapolis and Bell Station roads, where it had stopped.

“Once on scene, our officers were advised by the three adults on the bus that a student had been acting out and had attempted to throw Brooks’ cellphone out of a window,” police said in a statement. “Officers found no evidence to support the allegation against the student.”

The next evening, school security officials gave police the surveillance video.

The video showed Brooks sitting next to the 7-year-old boy, police said, before he began grabbing and shoving him. Detectives contacted a parent of the child, who had been told earlier the boy had acted up on the bus. The parent was advised to take him to a doctor.

“We still have an open investigation,” said Jennifer Donelan, a police spokeswoman. “We’re looking at everything, to include the actions of the other adults on the bus.”

According to a website for the Foundation Schools, with locations in Largo and Gaithersburg, the schools’ mission is “to provide a highly specialized educational and therapeutic program for students identified with emotional disabilities, as well as those with social, emotional and learning challenges, preparing them to be lifelong learners.”

via Washington Post

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