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Mom wants answers after bus aide slaps son | News

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Mom wants answers after bus aide slaps son

Port Richey, Florida -- A Pasco County mother wants answers after her autistic son was slapped by a bus aide on the school bus.

The incident was caught on surveillance video and bus aide Jim Lambert is now off the job.

School workers say if they get more complaints, they are open to reviewing past videos of him at work.

The boy's mother says she didn't know her son was struck until another student on the bus came forward.


Betrayed. That's how Lori Lamb says she feels. On her son Jeffrey's last day of school, she says she shook Lambert's hand and thanked him for taking such good care of her boy.

That was before she found bruises on her son.

"I would have liked to have done the same thing he did to my son: strap him down so he couldn't move, and then let me hit him the way he hit my son," Lamb says.

A detective says the video shows Lambert, who the kids call "Mr. Jim," repeatedly slapping Jeffrey Lamb on the way home from school.

Jeffrey had been shouting profanities, something he sometimes does. But because of his disability, he can't control it.

In the video, viewers can hear the "slap" as a sitting Lambert swings at Jeffrey, and again while Lambert is standing at the back of the bus.

Later, Lambert flinches and quickly makes a fist, like he's about to punch Jeffrey. Jeffrey screams and Lambert says, "Shut up!"

The experience is still upsetting Jeffrey, days later.

"This is all I get all day, 'Mr. Jim smacked me,'" his mother said. "And this has been all day, all night. He's been sleeping with me and he's been having nightmares."

Bus assistants ride on routes that have kids with special needs.

School district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said the assistants get lots of training to handle situations like this and Lambert's response is inexcusable.

Cobbe said it doesn't appear the driver knew what was happening, but if she did, it would be a felony for her to not report it.

Lambert is out of jail. He has bonded out until he's tried for child abuse. A news crew went to Lambert's house in Hudson, but no on answered the door.

Lambert is on paid leave from the district, but the school board is expected to fire him at its next meeting.

Jeffrey did not tell his mom about what happened, but another student on the bus came forward.

Lori Lamb is scared something this has happened before -- to her son or another child -- in Lambert's 16 years as a bus aide.School records show Lambert has never been disciplined at the district level.

District staff members are spending Monday reviewing his files within the transportation department, which go back to when he was hired in 1998, to see whether there were any signs of problems.


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