Bertram Jaquez Colorado school bus driver fired after slapping 10 year old schoolgirl refusing to wear face mask after she said she was feeling sick.
Bertram Jaquez was caught on surveillance footage ordering the student to cover her face with the mask that was pulled down to her chin — only to then slap her face when she replied, ‘I don’t care.’
‘Out of reaction, I slapped her once,’ Jaquez admitted in a written statement to school bosses obtained by KKTV over the incident which occurred, April 12 in Fremont County, Co.
‘She just would not listen, yelling at me and the other girls,’ he said of the young pupil who said that wearing the mask made her feel sick.
Jaquez is facing misdemeanor charges including harassment, assault causing injury and child abuse. The school bus driver has since been fired.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Colorado bus driver facing charges for allegedly slapping a 10-year-old girl over a mask dispute.
— Ashley Franco (@AshleyKKTV) May 18, 2021
Face masks at school
‘We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child,’ the Fremont County School District said in a released statement, saying it was ‘very saddened by this incident.’
‘The driver’s action justified termination of employment, as it goes against District policy and our values,’ it said.
‘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,’ the district said.
The episode comes as face masks in schools have become a point of contention for communities across the US – in addition to the broader issue of home schooling.