School bus aide arrested after allegedly abusing children with severe autism

Written by on April 11, 2024

Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC

(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) — A school bus aide has been arrested by police in Englewood, Colorado, for allegedly physically abusing three children with severe autism, at least one instance of which was allegedly caught on video, according to a law firm representing the families.

The three students endured “extreme physical and mental abuse” over the course of six months while on a Littleton Public Schools special needs bus, the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm said in a press release Wednesday. All three children are non-verbal, and could therefore not report the abuse, the law firm said.

Kiarra Jones, 29, faces felony assault charges for crimes against at-risk children, according to police.

“It was determined that more than one non-verbal autistic student was assaulted by the suspect on a moving school bus while en route to school,” the Englewood Police Department said in release Tuesday. “It was also determined that the suspect was the victims’ assigned paraprofessional employed by Littleton Public School District at the time of the incident.”

Jones allegedly subjected the children to “unfathomable abuse,” the law firm said.

Starting in September 2023, the parents said they “saw significant shifts in their child’s behavior and noticed physical injuries on their child, including unexplained scratches, bruises, a lost tooth, a broken toe, a black eye, and other deep bruises on their bodies and feet,” the law firm’s press release stated.

The parents contacted the school with their concerns in January. The school then reached out to the school district. But according to Ciara Anderson, an attorney with the film, the school district “utterly failed” to take action.

“They did a sham investigation in which they looked at one ride,” Anderson said in a press conference Tuesday. “They did no other investigation, they asked no other questions and they provided no other monitoring. Because of these horrific failures by the school district, the bus aide was emboldened to continue her abuse — and she did.”

The school district has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

Jones was arrested April 4 after a video recorded in March, which was released by the law firm on Tuesday, allegedly showed her “repeatedly hitting, punching, and stomping on a fragile 10-year-old boy.”

She was arraigned on the morning of April 5 and bonded out on a $5,000 bond, police said. A public defender is representing Jones, according to the district attorney.

Jones and her attorney have not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

She was fired the same day she was arrested, Todd Lambert, the district’s superintendent, said in a letter to the school community Friday. Jones was hired in August 2023 “after satisfactory reference checks and after passing a thorough background check,” and “had very limited access to students during her employment,” he added.

“This kind of behavior cannot be and is not tolerated,” Lambert wrote. “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.”

In the press conference, the parents of the boy seen in the video spoke of their horror at learning how their son had been treated.

“How could someone that I trusted, someone that I was so friendly with, do this to my little boy?” the mother said.

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