An autistic child is left on a school bus in 2014, he is distraught, scared and crying. The 11-year-old is there for a half hour when finally another bus driver notices the child. At the time the Coachella Valley School District said there was no tape of the incident, but now the video has come to light. The district says the employee, who denied the tape even existed is just trying to gain from the suffering of a child.
"The transportation director was asked by myself and our superintendent at the time, ‘were the cameras on the bus working that day do we have the tape?’ and we were told, ‘no they were not working that day there was no tape,’" says Gregory Fromm, the Assistant Superintendent.
All these years the footage has been in the possession of Angel Valentin, the Assistant Director of Transportation, who claims Fromm reprimanded him and ultimately put him on leave because he wouldn’t hand over the only copy, which he claims he kept to prevent the district from deleting.
Fromm says that’s not the case, and he never even spoke with Valentin, he only spoke with the department head who has since retired, "His claims are false on that… all my communication of what happened went through my director," adding that the claims this incident caused him to be put on leave are also untrue, "It had nothing to do with this. I mean you just look at the time frame and that, he’s been on administrative leave since the fall, this past fall which is two years past the event."
Fromm says his actions show this employee has ulterior motives, "He doesn’t really care about the child … that was a horrific event for that child, a horrific event for those parents you know that shouldn’t have happened so to dig all these bad feelings up is not what’s best for that child, it’s what’s best for that employee."
He says since the incident they put safeguards in place to make sure no child is left behind on a bus ever again, but says this video could have better served them and this child three years ago, "The student was an autistic student left on the bus … and he was the only one there to tell the story … the bottom line is this employee held on to this tape for three years with information real time that the district could have used to help."
We reached out to Valentin for a reaction to the school’s side of the story. He did not return our messages.