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Maricopa parents of special needs student suing over alleged bullying

Posted at 4:04 PM, May 01, 2019

MARICOPA, AZ — The parents of a special needs student are suing the Maricopa Unified School District for allegedly failing to protect their son on the school bus.

The incident started on a bus ride home from the ACES school in Maricopa. Video from inside the bus shows a female student attacking another child as expletives fill the air.

The parents of the student who was punched and kicked say it's just one example of bullying their son has faced for months.

A recently filed notice of claim states the bullying happened aboard the bus from November 2018 to April 2019. The parents say it gradually escalated from taunting to physical violence.

ACES is a private day school for students with behavioral difficulties related to their special needs like autism, as well as emotional and intellectual disabilities.

Their transportation and supervision to and from school are provided by the Maricopa Unified School District.

The claim says the failure to stop the bullying led to the bus driver being fired. It also says nothing else was done and the attacks got worse.

The parents claim on three separate occasions, the child suffered physical injuries, including an incident last month where he suffered a broken nose at the hands of another student.

Police confirmed the attack and described the atmosphere on board the bus as "no supervision, chaotic and unsafe" with "kids jumping all over the seats and climbing over them while in transit."

The incident captured in the video finally came to an end when a DPS trooper got on board.

The family and attorneys plan to file a lawsuit against the district for $2 million in damages.

The district has received the notice of claim and says its lawyers are currently reviewing the document. They have 60 days to respond.