Video (below) shows a bus aide slapping a 6-year-old girl on an Illinois school bus. The girl has autism.
Nicholas Rushing says his daughter, Kaylee, is nonverbal autistic. According to CNN, he was notified by a school official, asking him to review surveillance video of a bus aide slapping Kaylee twice while she was screaming.
He says that the video "broke my heart."
"My blood boils," he told WLS. "I think about it and it just makes me mad. She shouldn't have to go through that."
The video shows Kaylee becoming increasingly agitated with the unnamed bus aide, who was touching the girl throughout the ride. Kaylee spit on the woman, which caused the aide to slap the child twice.
"When she's having that meltdown, she needs that space and be able to mellow it out herself," said Rushing.
The school district tells CNN the aide was not a district employee, but worked for the bus contractor, Lincoln-Way Special Education District.
Rushing says the aide was only with the company for two weeks and did not appear to have been properly trained.
"She is an awesome kid and she is super sweet and for this to happen as a dad it almost feels like I failed her ... I don't think I have ever been more mad in my life," he said.
Sarah Rexroad, the bus operator's special director, says the company is launching an investigation into the incident.
"I cannot provide a specific comment at this time," she said. "There is an ongoing investigation regarding an incident that allegedly occurred on a school bus. Student safety is a No. 1 priority for the cooperative."
Kaylee did not suffer any physical injuries, but her father said that she's now afraid to interact with strangers.
"It kind of changed her personality on things," he said. "She doesn't want anything to do with people she doesn't know."
A Change.org petition has been started to advocate for proper training procedures.
"A 6-year-old child with Autism faces physical abuse from a school bus aid," the petition reads. "Staff needs to succumb better moral treatment towards special needs children as well as better training as to how to deal with such individuals."
Rushing hopes the company will take swift action against its employee and be more careful about training staff.
"I'm worried as a dad it may not be the first time this happened," he said. "My main goal is to make sure this never happens to any other people."
CNN reports that no charges have been filed against the aide.