Video clip shows special needs student being assaulted on bus
(02/12/20) - WARNING: Attached Video is Disturbing
ABC12 has obtained video that shows some disturbing and intense moments between a Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD) bus driver and special needs adult.
The video, although difficult to watch, is precisely what caused school officials to act quickly and reach out to authorities.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson says 61-year-old Thomas Norton of Clio "hit his limit" while driving students home from the Michigan School for the Deaf last Wednesday (Feb. 5).
The video was taken by a student on the bus, a few rows back from the confrontation. Their parent shared the video with ABC12. It's just 17 seconds long but has helped immensely in the investigation.
"There was video that a courageous student recorded of the incident," Swanson said.
We do not know what led up to the confrontation or at what point the video was recorded.
We do know that you can see the bus driver's forearm and elbow banging the student's head against the window at least three times.
You can hear the driver yelling "stop it" and the thumping sound of the student's head as it slams against the window. At one point it sounds like the student cries out.
He is yelled at and hit again after doing so.
"It's just intolerable," said GISD associate Superintendent Steven Tunnicliff, Ph.D.
The bus driver is a 13-year veteran with the GISD. He was placed on leave along with an aide on the bus. They are *now* both off the job after officially resigning.
The aide is not going to be criminally charged, but the bus driver is charged with 3rd degree vulnerable adult abuse and assault and battery for striking the student.
We're told the student is expected to physically recover from the attack.
ABC12 reached out to Norton's attorney and the Michigan Department of Education for comment. Both did not respond by deadline Wednesday.