DETROIT (FOX 2) - The alleged assault of a six-year-old student with autism is at the center of a $10 million dollar lawsuit.
"I saw these things on the video and my heart just dropped," said Talysha Oldham. "And I was in disbelief that someone could do these things to a child, especially a child with special needs that could not communicate or defend themselves. Or, let somebody know something was going on with him."
Talysha Oldham is bringing the legal action against ABC Student Transportation, its former bus driver and a Detroit Public Schools Community District employee. She says that driver sat on, and struck her son Adriel, as he was heading home from Fisher Magnet Lower Academy in Detroit last December.
"Even if he was hard to restrain or was having a meltdown because of his autism they could’ve stopped the bus," she said. "They could’ve pulled the bus over, they could’ve called dispatch, they could’ve called me. I would have stopped whatever I was doing, to come get my child."
But Oldham says no one called her. She only found out about the assault after a student-recorded video of it surfaced on social media.
The lawsuit alleges the only other adult on the bus, a DPSCD employee, stood by and did nothing as the assault happened.
"We as a society have gotten awfully upset at Will Smith and his behavior at striking a man, a comedian, Mr. Rock, who arguably could defend himself," said attorney Arnold Reed. "We're talking about a child, where is the outrage. Where is the concern."
Reed and fellow attorney Harolyn Beverly are representing the family in the suit. Reed says Adriel was diagnosed with a mild case of traumatic brain injury after the incident.
"I talked with three independent therapists, all who have worked very closely with him," Reed said. "They said for the first few weeks after this, he was mimicking the behavior that he went through on the bus: Covering his head up; dropping down on the floor; like they threw him; and making the same exact motions, movements and noises that you hear in this video."
FOX 2 reached out to ABC Student Transportation for comment, but received no response.
DPSCD says an investigation cleared its employee of any wrongdoing, but ABC Student Transportation fired the bus driver.
The district says it sent a recommendation to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to press criminal charges against the bus driver, but so far no charges have been filed. Below is statement sent from the school regarding what happened:
"On December 3, 2021, the District was made aware of a bus incident through a video circulated on social media. Upon review, both the bus driver (employee of the bus company) and attendant (district employee) were immediately removed from servicing DPSCD students and schools pending an investigation regarding the incident. A robo call was sent home alerting families of the incident and the action taken by the District. The investigation resulted in the district employee cleared of any wrongdoing, the termination of the bus driver by the bus company and a District recommendation made to the County's prosecutor's office to press criminal charges. The parent was notified and provided an opportunity to view the video, however, did not respond to the District's messages. The District is cooperating with the ongoing investigation. No charges have been filed."
The adults on the bus are listed as Jane Does in the lawsuit. Oldham and Reed claim DPSCD never disclosed the names of the two women in question.
"If you have kids with special needs and you don’t have the training to deal with them, things like these happen," Oldham said.
Oldham, who is a limited licensed psychologist and substitute teacher, took Adriel out of Fisher Magnet and is now homeschooling. She believes it happened before, but there was no video of it.