Mother: Why Did Autistic Girl Come Home From School Topless, Scratched?
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The mother of a autistic Brooklyn girl wants answers about how her child came home from school topless, scratched up and allegedly traumatized after getting off her school bus.
In an exclusive interview with CBS 2′s John Slattery, the mother of 14-year-old Eleana Vellios said her largely nonverbal daughter recently got off the bus near their Sheepshead Bay home wearing no shirt — as she sometimes does when she’s agitated — but this time, she was badly scratched.
“All over her shoulders, on her spine, in the middle of her back, under her arms, pretty much everywhere,” Eleana’s mother, Tina Vellios said.
Tina Vellios said she has been picking up daughter at school since the incident because the girl is afraid to ride the bus.
“Very upset because my child has been not only physically but emotionally scarred,” she said.
The mother does not believe the scratching happened at the school, the Association for Metroarea Autistic Chirldren in Chelsea. The child is supervised at all times, and there are cameras in every room, Tina Vellios said.
“All I know is that she was fine when she left school,” Bonnie Moses, the school’s director, said.
The bus company, Careful Bus Service, has cameras on 8 percent of its fleet, but not on the bus in question.
Based on comments made by Eleana, Tina Vellios suspects the bus escort might be to blame.
“She says, ‘No bus. Afraid.’” Tina Vellios said. “And when I said, “Why? Who are you afraid of?’, she says, ‘Lady. Hit.’”
Neil Hoffman, co-owner of Careful Bus Service, said the driver and escort have the required safety training.
“The mother says it was the escort,” he said. “The escort says it didn’t happen on the bus.”
Police are investigating the case.
The Department of Education said late Tuesday afternoon that Eleana has been transferred to a different bus route with the same bus company.
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