A Broward County School District bus attendant is accused of choking an autistic boy on a bus ride from Westglades Middle School to the child’s Deerfield Beach home, according to a Broward Sheriff’s Office report.
Darryl Blue, 48, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged with aggravated child abuse Wednesday and posted a $7,500 bond Thursday morning.
According to the arrest affidavit, the child’s mother, Bertis Paulino, reported to the Sheriff’s Office that someone her 13-year-old boy called “Mr. Man” had hurt him.
The child, Moises Mancebo, has not been himself since the alleged Oct. 9 incident, his mother said. The usually sweet honor-roll student is so frustrated and emotionally distressed that he’s destroyed everything in his room, Paulino said.
“He’s afraid. He’s sleeping with me now because he’s afraid,” she said Thursday, “This is not my boy.”
The alleged abuse was captured on the bus’ surveillance camera and lasted most of the trip from the child’s Parkland school to his home in Deerfield Beach, BSO said.
Moises suffered small bruises on his neck that were photographed for evidence, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Surveillance footage showed Blue, a school bus attendant, sitting behind the boy who was strapped into his seat with a safety harness.
The child, who had urinated on himself, tried to reach back toward Blue, who pulled on the harness strap. As Blue repeatedly yanked the harness against the boy’s body, Moises screamed, “My neck. It hurts. You’re hurting me,” according to the BSO report.
Blue’s response, according to BSO: “He won’t be this color when he gets home. He will be raspberry.”
At the surveillance video’s 46-minute mark, the school bus driver, Chelsi Edwards, told Blue that he was choking the child. A sheriff’s spokeswoman said that Edwards has not been charged with any crimes linked to the incident.
A school district spokeswoman said Blue was hired in 2000 and took a three-year hiatus. He was re-hired in 2008 and, on Oct. 17, was re-assigned to a position within the transportation department that doesn’t involve contact with students, district spokeswoman Marsy Smith said.
He’ll remain in his new post pending the outcome of the district’s administrative investigation, she said.
A woman reached by phone who identified herself as a relative of Blue’s said he would not be making any comments.
However, Blue told authorities that he acted wrongly and that he was “too tough” on the boy, the BSO report said.
Since the alleged abuse occurred, Paulino said her son places his hand up toward his face in an attempt to protect himself. And he’s fearful of getting on the school bus, she said.
“He’s not doing well at all,” she said, “I’m going to have to get professional help.”
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