DETROIT (WXYZ) — We often talk about videos going viral on social media but when it’s your own child and they are facing a possible health crisis, that video can be disturbing to watch.
That’s what happened to a substitute teacher in Detroit when someone recorded a video of her severely autistic son on the school bus screaming for help. Now she wants answers to what leads up to what. We do have to warn you the video is disturbing.
Imagine a mother’s horror to learn the video you see circulating on social media is not only of your child, but none of the authorities alerted you to the fact that this incident happened on a school bus.
“My family, we found out via social media, it was a video trending on Facebook,” mom Talysha Oldham said.
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Six-year-old Adriel Oldham was returning from school on the bus. Another child on the bus recorded a video of what was happening. It appears Adriel is being held down by the bus driver as he screams.
“When he came home, the bus driver told me that he can’t ride my bus anymore, he can’t ride my bus, he has to find another mode of transportation,” Oldham said.
Oldham, who has been a substitute teacher in Detroit for 10 years and used to work as a teacher in the Detroit Public School Community District, was shocked when this video began circulating on social media. Adriel’s father is the one who told her this was their little boy with his legs in the air screaming.
“First thing I heard was my son screaming, then I could see this lady sitting on my son and striking him,” Oldham said.
His mother says he barely speaks.
“He can tell you his basic needs whether he’s hungry or if he has to use the restroom, he can’t tell you if he’s been harmed or if someone has done something to him,” Oldham explained.
This happened in November of 2021. Oldham went for a meeting at her son’s school twice in the same week to Adriel’s discuss behavior and his Individualized Education Program (IEP) to make sure he was being properly cared for with his disability.
“Have you ever seen him have a meltdown?” WXYZ’s Carolyn Clifford asked.
“I’ve seen him have a meltdown, yes, but it’s easy for us to correct because he has therapy weekly,” Oldham said.
She also says normally when her son is picked up or dropped off, there are only a few kids on the bus. But on this day, it appears there were plenty of kids on the bus.
Oldham said the bus driver told her that he had attacked her on the bus.
Upon drop off the bus driver failed to mention what happened during the trip home.
“Even if she had a difficult time with him, she could have handled that differently,” Oldham said. “She could have pulled the bus over, she could have called dispatch and let them know she had a problem.”
We reached out to the Detroit Public Schools Community district the same week this happened.
They quickly responded to us with a letter saying the bus driver and her assistant, who are not employed by DPS and work for a separate contracted bus service, could no longer transport DPSCD students.
Here is what it says:
The District is aware of the incident and video circulating through social media. Both the bus driver (employee of the bus company) and attendant (district employee) have been removed from servicing DPSCD students and schools pending an investigation regarding the incident.
Chrystal Wilson, Assistant Superintendent Detroit Public Schools Community District
“That bus driver and the assistant are gone. Does that give you some comfort?” Clifford asked.
“When you work with kids, especially kids with disabilities, you should be trained,” Oldham said.
Oldham filed a police report, and she has since switched her son to another school. They’ve seen several doctors to make sure he was not injured and has no lingering issues. Right now, he is homeschooled.
“What more do you want to see happen?” Clifford asked.
“I would like to see legal action, I would like to press charges on her,” Oldham said.