Colorado school bus driver fired after hitting child in mask dispute, district says

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A Colorado school bus driver has been fired for “[striking] a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus,” the district tells Fox News. 

The incident involving the Fremont County School District driver happened in mid-April and he has been charged with harassment, assault causing injury and child abuse, according to KKTV. 

“Our school community is experiencing a very unfortunate situation. We have had a bus driver strike a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus,” the district told Fox News in a statement. “We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child.” 

HERE’S WHEN FULLY VACCINATED PEOPLE NEED MASKS 

“Local police were involved during the investigation as well as us being in contact with the child’s family,” the district added. “The driver’s action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values. We are very saddened by this incident.” 

Surveillance footage of the alleged incident obtained by KKTV begins with a male figure saying “Hey, both of you have to wear the mask” while he is seen trying to adjust one on a student’s face. 

“Why?” a female student is then heard asking. 

“Because,” the male figure responds, before more crosstalk is heard and the male figure ultimately slaps the child across the face.  

In a written statement to the district, the driver, identified as Bertram Jaquez, said “out of reaction, I slapped her once,” KKTV reports. 

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In a statement the girl provided to officials, she wrote that she wasn’t feeling well so she moved her mask below her nose – and the driver tried to place it back over her entire face, the station adds. 

“Our goal everyday is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follow the rules,” the Fremont County School District told Fox News. “We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.” 

Fox News’ Kimberly Wagner contributed to this report. 

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