Witness claims autistic child roughly removed from Harnett Co. s - WNCN: News, Weather

Witness claims autistic child forced from Harnett Co. school bus

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There is controversy over witness accounts regarding how a kindergarten-aged autistic child was removed from a Harnett County school bus Wednesday afternoon.

A man waiting for his daughter to get off that same bus says he watched as the driver and another parent forcibly took the screaming boy off the bus.

"I saw another woman who did not belong to this child pull him off the bus and hold him to the ground so the bus could drive away," claimed the parent who asked that we only identify him as Cory S.

He estimates he was about 90 feet from the bus stop at Cool Springs Road and Mason Hill Lane in Lillington when the incident occurred.
"I was in shock and was actually on the phone with the school telling them what I was seeing," Cory S. said.

From inside the bus, the 10-year-old daughter of Cory S., Aliyah, had another perspective of the bus driver's action when the autistic child wouldn't disembark.

"He kind of like, tried to sit down but she was still holding him so he dropped down and she basically kind of dragged his legs and put him on the ground," Aliyah S. explained.

Cory S. claims the mother of another child intervened at that point. 

"She made one step on the bus," he said. He then described how the woman handled the child next saying she was "jerking to get him because he was holding on to the railing. He was screaming and crying."

Harnett County Schools says it didn't happen that way.

Spokesperson Patricia Harmon-Lewis told WNCN in an e-mail that a review of the video from the bus showed no one did anything wrong and that the woman merely guided the autistic child off the bus.

WNCN went to that woman's house to get her side of the story, but no one came to the door when we knocked repeatedly.

That was after we observed a deputy sheriff chatting with occupants of the home.

The deputy would not tell WNCN why he was at the residence.

Meanwhile Cory S. says a deputy paid him a visit, too.

"His words to me were: ‘what you're saying didn't happen.' I told him I sat right there on the corner of my lawn and watched this,'" said Cory S.

Harnett County Schools has not released the video taken on board the bus.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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