We trust bus drivers, teachers, and other officials to look after our children and keep them safe, but sadly, bus driver abuse and neglect has become a major issue. A First Student school bus driver, Terry Rice, has been charged with child abuse, a Class D felony, in Warren County and is facing numerous criminal charges in Franklin County, including eight counts of kidnapping, a misdemeanor and a fourth-degree assault, also a misdemeanor, after allegations that Rice allegedly abused one of the children on his bus over 200 times.
According to a statement from a bus aide at Autumn Hill, a school in Union, MO, for children with disabilities, she personally witnessed Rice use ‘homemade restraints’ on the child and said that she also witnessed Rice “pull (the child’s) sleeves down to act as a buffer between his skin and the straps in hopes that the restraints would not leave more marks.” The source also provided school officials with photos of the child being restrained/”hog-tied” on the bus by Rice, according to court documents.
Also included in the bus aide’s statement, Rice reportedly requested the aide on her second day on the job to ‘lie to the child’s parents should she ever be questioned about the marks.’ According to the source, Rice “told me in relative detail about how he made the restraints himself from spare seat belt parts and plastic buckles. There was a restraint for his feet, one for his torso, and two sets of individual arm straps to keep his arms close to the seat.”
An ongoing investigation into Rice has been underway since June 2019 after the child’s mother received notice from a school staff member that her child had been physically restrained for the entire nine mile trip from the family’s home to school and nine miles back home. The child’s family has filed a lawsuit against First Student, Rice, and Ruth E. Cunningham, a bus aide that did not report the incidents.
At The Simon Law Firm, P.C. our dedicated attorneys are here to help abuse and neglect victims and their families protect their rights and hold individuals responsible for the abuse and neglect accountable for their actions. Our personal injury attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case and will be by your side every step of the way. If your child, or someone you know, has been the victim of bus driver abuse and neglect, please contact The Simon Law Firm, P.C. as soon as possible for a free and 100% confidential consultation.