Thomas E. Kilpatrick sues over alleged beating of autistic son
(AP, ABC7) - A man who claims his autistic son was abused on a school bus has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the Bedford County School Board.
Thomas E. Kilpatrick's lawsuit alleges that the bus driver and her assistant physically abused his son in 2009. The boy was 11 at the time.
Kilpatrick's attorney, P. Brent Brown, tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that he obtained surveillance video of the abuse through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Brown filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Lynchburg Circuit Court.
The boy's father said his son refused to rid the bus and came home with scratch marks on his arms and face.
During one bus ride, the video shows the bus aide, Mary Evans, hitting the boy with what appears to be a fly swatter.
Eventually, driver Alice Holland, who is wearing a turquoise shirt in the video, stops the bus, walks back and joins the aide in hitting Timothy.
The lawsuit alleges the bus driver chocked Timothy with a seatbelt.
According to the lawsuit, the school system and it agents "denied Timothy his liberty, by restraining him and subjecting him to grossly abusive injurious supervision."
The 43-page lawsuit also accuses school administrators of failing to properly train bus personnel in how to address the boy’s autism.
D. Patrick Lacy Jr., who represents the school system, said the lawsuit hasn't been served and he couldn't comment.
The surveillance videotape has been turned over to the Lynchburg police as part of their criminal investigation.
Officials from the Bedford County school department wouldn't comment on the lawsuit. The driver and the assistant are no longer school system employees – the school system says they have not worked for the county since Sept 30, 2009. The driver and aide are named as defendants, along with the school system's director of special services.