School bus attendant attacks 13-year-old special needs girl and violently shakes her head in shocking assault
The parents, Shaheen and Alex Knox, are currently suing Leesel Transportation Corporation and their attendant, Beleck Valmont, over the shocking incident that took place on October 30
A furious couple in Brooklyn has demanded that justice is served after a school bus attendant was captured on camera manhandling their 13-year-old daughter with special needs. The parents, Shaheen and Alex Knox, are currently suing Leesel Transportation Corporation and their attendant, Beleck Valmont, over the shocking incident that took place on October 30. The entire thing was caught on camera by another bus employee while the vehicle was on the way to the Manhattan Children's Center.
The Knox's child, 13-year-old India Knox, is a special needs child who needs 24-hour medical assistance and also has the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. Valmont can be seen in the video holding the back of the girl's head and violently shaking her as they were on their way to the school. India weighs only 84lbs, reported the New York Daily News.
The other bus attendant who took the cell phone footage of the incident notified school officials. In the disturbing video, India can be heard repeatedly telling Valmont, "I'll calm down", as he is seen grabbing the back of her head and almost slamming her face into the seat in front of her. Valmont also seems to disregard the child's pleas while he constantly pushes the back of her head.
School officials then informed the police as well as India's parents of what Valmont did and he was subsequently arrested that same day. Valmont was charged with six crimes including assault. The father said: "It's every parent's worst nightmare. You give people trust that they're going to do safely transport your child to school. Assault isn't something you expect."
The 34-year-old paraprofessional who filmed the whole thing to protect India and the other children, Justin Foster, said: "He was pulling her hood over her head and mashing her head into the seat and you don't do stuff like that. It was a situation where I felt I had to do the right thing."
Valmont, however, has denied that he did anything wrong and said that he sprang into action to stop India from spitting on and angering other students on the bus. He said: "I'm sorry about what happened because I didn't want to do anything wrong to the girl. I love kids and I never got into trouble."
The attendant has a daughter of his own and is reported to have worked as a city school bus attendant for 13 years. He was released from holding without bail and is scheduled to appear in court in December. A new bus driver has since been assigned to the route after officials from the City Education Department suspended Valmont.
India's father claimed that even though his daughter went back to the bus on November 5, she is still afraid. The family has since hired lawyers Matthew Blit and Sanford Rubenstein to represent their case in the lawsuit. Rubenstein said: "It is fortunate we were able to obtain a video of this assault and pictures of the cuts."
Officials in the Education Department would not confirm if Valmont had any previous arrests when they did the background check but he has claimed that he has never had a run-in with the law. Miranda Barbot, a spokesperson for the DOE, said: "The NYPD and (the schools') Special Commissioner of Investigation are investigating this deeply disturbing allegation, and we swiftly suspended the attendant and provided this family with a new bus route."
According to Education Department officials, Leesel has about 350 school bus routes and is currently being paid $50million every year by the city.