Colorado bus driver who slapped 10-year-old girl for refusing to wear a face mask is fired

Bus driver sacked after caught on camera slapping little girl who removed mask

Clara Hill
Thursday 20 May 2021 22:46 BST
Colorado bus driver slaps 10-year-old girl for refusing to wear a face mask

A Colorado bus driver has been let go after video footage emerged of him slapping a little girl who refused to wear a mask.

Bertram Jaquez drove a bus full of kids in Fremont County, where a 10-year old girl rejected requests to put a mask on., prompting an argument with other children on the bus. The incident was recorded on the bus’ security cameras.

In light of being let go after the incident, he confessed he had hit the child “out of reaction”.

The local school board released a statement about their decision to remove Mr Jaquez from his role.

“The driver’s action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values. We are very saddened by this incident. Our goal every day is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follows the rules. We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school,” it read.

According to records obtained by 11 News, a handwritten note by the victim said she was feeling unwell so removed the part of her mask that covered her nose, upsetting the people around her and sparking a loud exchange of words.

The ruckus caused the driver to come to the back of the bus to see what was happening. According to the child, the driver put his hand on her face to put the mask back on correctly and then she said he hit her for not complying with rules.

The girl provided authorities with a written statement about how she “told him ‘no’. I get sick from masks”. She also said that after he slapped her, she said “let me off the bus” and is said to have run off at the next stop.

States such as Texas have dropped the need for masks to be worn in school settings. The same cannot be said for the state of Colorado, which is, on a district by district basis, allowing vaccinated teachers and pupils to forgo wearing masks in educational setting.

“You can show your faces these last few weeks of school,” Governor Jared Polis said at a news conference in light of the CDC suggesting that people who have been fully vaccinated can opt to not wear face coverings inside.

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