A Colorado school bus driver has confessed to slapping a 10 year-old girl for not wearing a mask properly after chilling video footage went viral of the incident.
The surveillance video shows Bertram Jaquez smacking the little girl in the face during a mask dispute. The video shows Jaquez confronting the girl as she sat in her seat, at which time reportedly told him, “I get sick from mask[s].”
When other kids on told the girl to put her mask on, she wrote in a statement that she “yelled at them and said you shut up your [sic] not involved in this.” The other kids told the bus driver when she still did not have the mask on correctly. When Jaquez told the unnamed girl to put her mask on and she refused, he lost it.
“Out of reaction, I slapped her once,” he admitted afterwards.
In her own written statement submitted to the school district, the girl stated, “The bus driver slapt [sic] me.”
Jaquez was put on administrative leave as soon as the video got out, and he has since been fired.
“Our school community is experiencing a very unfortunate situation,” a spokesperson for the Fremont County School District wrote in an email. “We have had a bus driver strike a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus.”
Fremont County School District released the following statement to KKTV:
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.
The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office has investigated this incident, and Jaquez is now facing multiple misdemeanor charges, including harassment, assault causing injury, and child abuse. Check out the video for yourself below.