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School bus driver pushes girl off bus with foot

6:14 AM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. --  The video of a Hillsborough County school bus driver who pushed a girl off the bus has been released.

The State Attorney's Office released the video Wednesday and shows 41-year-old Stephanie Wilkerson using her foot to push an 8-year-old girl off the bus last year.

"Why would they do that... oh, my God!" exclaimed Kim Williams.

The video was taken on September 28, 2012 outside Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School. It shows bus driver Stephanie Wilkerson taking her foot and pushing an 8-year-old autistic girl off the bus. The child falls to the ground and fractures her ankle.

Williams finds the video especially appalling, because she's a nurse who works with special needs kids.

"It takes patience to deal with special needs kids," says Williams. "You can't just throw any person in with special needs kids, that doesn't have the patience and the understanding of the special needs."

The video was enough to get Wilkerson fired in January. Even though the girl had moments earlier caused problems on the bus -- slapping and pushing the driver -- a school district spokesman says that's no excuse.

"You can't lose your cool," says Steve Hegarty. "You're the adult, you're held to very high standards and as a result of not meeting that standard, she was fired."

Hegarty says that because of this incident and others involving special needs children, the district is taking a closer look at its training for staff and that some improvements have already been made.

Wilkerson is now facing a charge of aggravated child abuse, but later on in the video, it doesn't appear that she's too concerned about losing it with a child, because she didn't lose her appetite. The video shows her eating in the driver's seat.

WTSP

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