Family wants tougher charges for El Paso bus driver caught grabbing boy on school bus in December

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 9:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EL PASO (25News Now) - A mother is asking for tougher charges against a bus driver for the El Paso-Gridley school district who was caught on camera grabbing her son’s head and yelling at him.

Amanda Wilson said her family’s life has been forever changed by the December 2022 incident.

“It’s been hard, it’s been really hard,” she said. “I think it’s definitely turned our life upside down.”

In the video, her then-11-year-old son Jack is grabbed and reprimanded by bus driver Ka Lin Aucutt. Aucutt said in the video students said Jack was cursing on the bus. Jack is autistic, though his mother said he is mostly high-functioning.

Aucutt was charged with misdemeanor battery on Sept. 20.

When 25News first reported on the story in February, the school district said she was disciplined, but could not release details because of district policy. She was not fired for the incident.

We reached out to the district for an updated comment but did not hear back.

District 11 covers El Paso, Gridley, Kappa, Secor, and Panola. Aucutt still drives a bus for the district, according to Wilson.

Wilson said she removed her son from the district and has been homeschooling him. She hasn’t been able to work in that time. However, she said the meltdowns her son was having improved once he started learning at home.

Community members rallied in support of Aucutt, who has been with the district for many years. Wilson said she has repeatedly been told her son deserved the punishment.

“A total stranger can touch my child and more total strangers can say ‘yeah, she was justified,’ or ‘you’re not doing your job as a parent,’ or ‘he’s a brat,’” she said. “None of those are good excuses.”

Wilson said her family has decided they have to leave El Paso because the small town now feels hostile to them. Wilson said she does all of her shopping in neighboring towns when she used to stay loyal to local businesses.

“I mean, I was a Cub Scout leader to a lot of these kids, so I was super involved in the community,” she said, “but the more hate you receive and the more drama in a small town, the more you back off and say I don’t want to be a part of that.”

Wilson believes Aucutt’s charge should be aggravated battery, which is a felony. There are certain conditions for an aggravated battery charge. For this case, it would only count as aggravated battery if Aucutt caused severe harm to Jack, or if she did so in a public space. It’s not clear if the school bus would count as a public space.

The Wilson family did retain an attorney and is considering a civil suit.