Driver Won't Let Special Needs Child on Bus, Mother Says
Albuquerque bus driver allegedly calls second-grader with cerebral palsy "retarded."
The driver delivered the message via text message, and didn't stop there, according to Carol. The driver included epithets in the message, allegedly telling the mother, , "Get your f--ing fat a-- up and take your own f--ing retarded daughter to school. I ain't no nurse and sh--." With no bus at her disposal, Valerie is now left without a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to take her to school. Her mother is calling for the Herrera Bus Company to fire the bus driver, as local ABC outlet KOAT reported. The case is being investigated by Albuquerque police, and the driver is being investigated for harassment. The company, however, is saying the messages were in fact not sent by the driver, as was reported by the Albuquerque Journal News.
"She told me my daughter has too many medical problems that she couldn't handle," Carol Montoya told KOAT. "They made it seem like my daughter is a burden to them, when in reality that's what they're hired for."
Both sides agree that the Montoyas and the driver regularly traded text messages to make transportation plans But on this occasion there was no such telephone communication, and the driver's message log revealed no such conversation, Herrera manager Therese Almager told the Albuquerque Journal News.
A cross-check with Verizon records also revealed no such conversation, Almager said. And to add insult to injury, the exchange is all the more dubious when considering that the driver is herself a caretaker of a special needs child, according to Almarger.
The Albuquerque Public School system, however, has confirmed Carol Montoya has forwarded the text message in question, and they are still investigating.
Apparently this is not the Montoyas' first dust-up with the Herrera Bus company. Roughly three years ago, Valerie was being wheeled off a bus when her wheelchair rolled off the ramp and injured her mother's leg. An out-of-court settlement resulted in the company compensating the Montoyas.
Of course, many workplaces throughout America stand out for their treatment of people with special needs. Just last month, AOL Jobs featured the story of Pennsylvania ambulance company Liberty Ambulance, which helped arrange for a wheelchair to be delivered to a local handicapped resident, Markeys Smith, after his wheelchair was stolen outside of his house. The company then asked him to watch over their grounds.
Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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