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Bus driver under scrutiny for allegedly mistreating special needs children

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CHILHOWEE, MO (KCTV) -

A mother is outraged after she says a bus driver threatened to duct tape her special needs child and allegedly duct taped another child.

Linda Lujan said this is particularly outrageous because she had asked the Chilhowee School District to provide special training to the bus driver. She said she knew the driver needed training on techniques to use to handle her autistic son when he was having a meltdown.

But she never imagined what her son and another child said happened to them.

"I was just shocked," she said. "I couldn't believe it."

State social workers are investigating and police have been contacted by Lujan.

The school district said in a statement that it could not comment on personnel matters. The district added that it takes allegations of misconduct "very seriously and investigates each allegation thoroughly."

Connor, 7, is a second-grader who his mother says sometimes gets over stimulated and acts out.The boy wears a five-point harness so that he stays in his seat when he loses control.

The boy had an especially bad episode on Sept. 28.

Lujan was horrified when Connor and her other son accounted what the bus driver allegedly did to a kindergartner.

"He had told him he was going to duct tape his mouth if he didn't shut his f-n mouth. And by then, I was just furious," she said.

State social workers on Thursday came to the home and asked the family if they ever saw another child allegedly duct taped by the bus driver.

"Chase proceeded to hold his wrists up and said, 'Yeah on Cody.' And at that point, I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it," she said.

Her complaints against the district include the lack of training.

"At that time, they said they didn't feel it was necessary. At the time, I was shocked," she said. "It's a 20- to 30-minute ride to school and a lot can happen in 30 minutes especially with an autistic kid. With all the others on the bus, if something doesn't go right, something triggers it, he could have a meltdown."

The district is now having a paraprofessional drive Connor to school in a van. While the driver deserves consequences, the district does too, Lujan said.

"But throwing him literally under the bus is not right because they had the chance to make it right," she said. "They are just as much at fault as he is. They are as much to blame as he is."

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