WARNING – DISTRESSING CONTENT: Disturbing footage has been released showing a bus driver allegedly taunting and manhandling an eight-year-old girl with autism, who can be heard begging her to stop.
Kim Klopson was arrested after surveillance footage on the Vacaville Unified School District Bus from February 6 showed the 64-year-old allegedly manhandling the year two student, who she accused of blocking the aisle with her leg.
“If you stick your feet out again… you are going to be on the window,” Klopson can be heard saying on the video.
The incident appears to escalate when the bus arrives at Browns Valley Elementary School in California.
Klopson can be seen grabbing the girl’s backpack and ordering her to remain seated as the other students exit the bus.
When a teacher’s aide makes her way towards the bus, Klopson can be heard taunting the girl as she cries hysterically.
“She’s acting like she’s younger than her baby sister,” Klopson says.
“She’s only two, how old are you? One? Oh no, a baby.
The teacher’s aide remains outside the bus as the struggle continues for some time, even as the girl hits the back of her head on the ground.
“You might think you can get away with this, but not on my bus, now you ready?” Klopson tells the girl as she yanks herfrom the ground.
“You wanna crawl, you can crawl.”
Klopson eventually elects to shot the doors, telling the staff member “we’ll be right there.”
The family’s lawyer said that was false imprisonment.
“She’s trapping her there so she can continue to be violent with her and to reprimand her and to yell at her,” Micha Star Liberty told ABC7.
Klopson’s taunts seem to intensify as the girl pleads with her to “please stop it”.
“Nah nah nah nah nah,” the bus driver says. “You done? Nah nah nah nah nah.”
The footage comes to an end as Klopson eventually opens the bus doors, letting the girl off the bus before telling concerned onlookers “it’s okay, I didn’t hurt her guys.”
Police said the girl sustained abrasions as a result of the incident.
The Vacaville Unified School District claims they fired Klopson, but court filings indicate Klopson said she quit.
The staff member who appeared to witness some of the alleged abuse is still employed by the district, according to Liberty.
“Please know that we take this matter very seriously and will continue to be forthcoming and collaborative with our families,” the school district said in a statement to local media.
Klopson now faces a criminal charge of “cruelty to child by inflicting injury” . She has pleaded not guilty and was released on bail. She is due to appear in court on July 11..