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Bus driver accused of hitting child with special needs in Collier County

Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-03 22:59:08-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — A bus driver for Collier County School District was arrested for allegedly hitting a child who has special needs.

In a report, Collier County deputies said Dayely Gonzalez hit a 10-year-old student who has special needs after he threw an apple on the floor of the bus.

According to the report, the mother of the child told deputies her son rides the special needs bus because he suffers from various conditions including aphasia. It's a neurological disorder, which makes it difficult for him to express himself and understand others.

The mother said her son came home with a bruise on his leg on the day of the incident.

Deputies said the incident was caught on camera but the district said they can't release the video because it's part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

In the report, deputies described what was recorded in the video. Deputies said the bus driver is seen slapping, yelling, grabbing and restraining the child.

During the incident, an assistant was on the bus with students but never intervened.

In the report, Gonzalez stated she made a mistake. She said she felt disrepected and angry that the boy threw a piece of his apple on the floor.

Gonzalez said she's been trained to work with children who have special needs.

The school district released a statement saying, "Upon learning of this incident, Collier County Public Schools removed Dayely Gonzalez from her role as bus driver and reassigned her, prior to Thanksgiving, to the District office pending an investigation. Collier County Public Schools will be recommending termination of her employment to the Board on December 9th."

At last check, Gonzalez is in the Collier County Jail. Gonzalez had her first appearance Tuesday afternoon. She is being charged with cruelty and abuse without great bodily harm toward a child, which is a felony.