A Colorado school bus driver is no longer employed and facing criminal charges after video was captured of the driver slapping a 10-year-old girl for not properly wearing her mask.
Jaquez Bertram Armand, 63, was captured on surveillance cameras hitting the girl in April in Fremont County.
According to the video obtained by the outlet depicts Jaquez was arguing with the girl and demanding she wears her mask correctly. When she resists, he slaps her.
In a handwritten statement, the girl recounted the incident for herself explaining that she didn’t want to wear the mask because it made her feel sick. She explained that after she had been slapped, she demanded to be let off the bus, but Jaquez kept driving.
The Fremont County School District also issued a statement explaining that Jaquez was fired:
We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child. The District responded quickly to the situation by placing the driver on administrative leave so that we could fully investigate the incident. Local police were involved during the investigation as well as us being in contact with the child’s family. The driver’s action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values.
We are very saddened by this incident. Our goal every day is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follows the rules. We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.
Jaquez is facing misdemeanor charges, including harassment, assault causing injury, and child abuse, according to KKTV.
Masks for children have proven controversial, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children aged 2 and older wear them. Several states, such as Florida and Texas, have gotten rid of face mask mandates, and other states are expected to do so this summer.
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