05/28/2024

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Kiarra Jones

‘Severely abused my child’: School bus aide seen in video assaulting student with autism faces additional charges, prosecutors say

Kiarra Jones allegedly hit a nonverbal autism student while working as a bus aide for a Colorado school district. The incident was caught on video. (Mug shot: Arapahoe County Jail; Screenshot: KUSA/YouTube)

A Colorado school bus aide is facing more charges after she allegedly struck at least three nonverbal students who have autism.

Kiarra Jones, 28, faces a total of 11 counts — nine felony third-degree assault on an at-risk person and two misdemeanor counts of child abuse, a spokesperson for 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner confirmed to Law&Crime on Saturday. Jones is expected to be arraigned on July 1.

As Law&Crime has reported, Jones had already been facing charges for crimes against at-risk adult/juvenile, third-degree assault, Law&Crime reported.

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    The investigation began on March 28 when the Littleton Police Department alerted them about possible child abuse against a student on a Littleton Public Schools bus. Investigators reviewed video from the bus that showed Jones, a paraprofessional assigned to a student on the bus, hit the boy several times, according to police.

    On April 4, police obtained an arrest warrant for Jones and took her to the Arapahoe County Jail, where she posted a $5,000 bond.

    The parents of the three children have since hired a lawyer and said in a news conference their children suffered a knocked-out tooth, fractured bones and deep bruises. Jones, an employee with Littleton schools, accompanied the kids on the bus each day as it took them to The Joshua School, which caters to students with autism.

    The parents said they first noticed bumps and bruises on their 10-year-old son in September 2023, according to local CBS affiliate KCNC. The boy’s injuries worsened over time, they said.

    “They took my trust and spit on it,” the father said.

    The mother took her concerns to The Joshua School, which told her the injuries did not happen while he was in their care. Littleton Public Schools allegedly told her there was nothing to be concerned about after she questioned them.

    “I notified LPS on March 18 and on March 19 got a phone call from Littleton police informing me that an LPS employee had severely abused my child,” she said. “I went to the LPS transportation building and was in utter shock.”

    The parents chose to publicly release a surveillance video from the bus on the afternoon of March 18 that shows Jones elbowing and slapping the boy in the neck and face and stomping on his feet, seemingly unprovoked.

    “How could someone that I trusted, someone that I was so friendly with do this to my little boy?” the mother said, fighting back tears. “The torture and torment of my sweet boy could’ve been stopped.”

    Two other families reported similar injuries to their children.

    The Joshua School said in a statement it first heard concerns from a mother about her child’s injuries in January.

    “Self-injurious behavior and unexplained bruising isn’t uncommon in our students, but because of the concern of a mother trying to identify the source of her child’s injuries, we contacted the [Littleton] school district to request a review of transportation footage for anything out of the ordinary,” the school said in a statement. “At that time, we were assured by LPS that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. We then continued to communicate and work with the mother to identify the source of her child’s injuries.”

    Littleton schools gave Law&Crime the letter it sent to parents of students on the bus. The district claims it did not learn of the injuries until March 19. It then began an internal investigation and alerted law enforcement. The district fired Jones the same day.

    “This kind of behavior cannot be and is not tolerated. As parents, you trust us with the well-being of your children and you should never have to worry about them being harmed when they are in our care,” the letter said.

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    Ed C. Hopkins, of the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm, which represents three families, said in a news release emailed to Law&Crime that the District Attorney’s Office notified the families of the additional charges against Jones for her “unspeakable and inhumane acts against Autistic students.”

    “The families commend the District Attorney’s Office for its diligence and commitment to bring these charges on behalf of our most valuable and vulnerable citizens, our children,” the news release said. “These unprovoked assaults on a defenseless, severely disabled child are sickening. The limited information currently available indicates that abuse on the LPS bus began well before March 18, 2024. Each family is experiencing an immeasurable amount of pain, heartbreak, anger, and utter disillusionment as they seek justice for their children.”

    David Harris contributed to this report.

     

    The post ‘Severely abused my child’: School bus aide seen in video assaulting student with autism faces additional charges, prosecutors say first appeared on Law & Crime.