Denver bus driver accused of tying down autistic 3-year-old

DPS investigating, put driver on admin leave

DENVER - A Denver family is outraged after they say a Denver Public Schools bus driver tied an autistic 3-year-old to his seat.

The district is investigating and placed the driver on administrative leave.

"The supervisor watched the video. She told me it was very disturbing, so I can only imagine what the footage was," said Kathy Griffin, talking about the phone call from school officials today.

Griffin and LaKesha Rouse are guardians for her 3-year-old grandson and four-year-old granddaughter.
"He suffers from autism. She has learning disabilities," said Rouse. "We do everything we can to give them a good life."
The children ride the bus every day to Garden Place Academy for preschool, wearing special harnesses that buckle into their safety seats.
Rouse said the little boy had learned to unbuckle himself, but there is supposed to be an aide on the bus to help if that happens.
"Instead, what they had been doing to him was tying him down on the bus with ropes and putting belts onto the thing because he comes out of the harness," said Griffin. "I know it's not safe to tie a child down anywhere, especially a vehicle."
In a statement to 7NEWS, a DPS spokesman confirmed "a bus driver was using an unapproved seatbelt-like device to keep a student in their safety seat," going on to stay that DPS has strict policies on safe student transportation and that any violation would be cause for concern.
The bus driver has been placed on administrative leave and could face disciplinary action up to and including termination, a spokesman stated.
"We don't feel like it's enough," said Rouse. "We feel they owe us an explanation because obviously with that happening, what else did he do? I would like to see the video, in fact, because what if they're not disclosing everything to us because they're so afraid of how upset we're going to get? I feel like they're hiding something."
DPS is not releasing the video to the public, citing the ongoing investigation and student privacy.
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