DETROIT (April 6, 2022)– The mother of a Detroit public schools student learned through social media that her son had been punched, thrown and sat on during an attack on a bus, according to a lawsuit.
A video shot by a fellow student made its way to Facebook and alerted Talysha Oldham that something had happened to her 6-year-old son, Adriel, the lawsuit states.
In the video, the boy’s screams can be heard as a staff member and bus driver, according to the family’s attorney, punches, throws, and ultimately, sits on the boy.
When Adriel came home that day, his mother said she knew something wasn’t right.
“He was lethargic,” she said. “He didn’t want his afternoon snack. He slept for four hours, and he never does that.”
Adriel is autistic, and he has a hard time communicating. When a video of the melee on the bus showed up on Facebook, Oldham was livid. Nobody from the Detroit Public Schools Community District had alerted her about the problem, she said.
“Every single mechanism designed to protect this child failed, and you know what, they are still failing,” attorney Arnold Reed said.
Neither Reed nor Oldham has any idea what precipitated the melee on the bus, and they say the response from the district has been lacking.
In a statement, DPSCD says it learned of the incident when the video showed up on Facebook and sent a robocall out to parents to alert them. After an investigation, the attendant, a DPSCD staffer, was cleared.
The bus driver, who works for a contractor, was fired, and the district recommended the prosecutor’s office file charges. So far, no official charges have been issued.
Oldham said this is an example of more runaround. She pulled Adriel out of DPSCD, and now he’s being homeschooled.