School Bus Aide Charged with Beating Developmentally Disabled Boy

A school bus aide beat a 9-year-old boy who has developmental difficulty because he was "a brat," according to court records and a security camera tape.

Theresa L. Anderson, 29, of Lansing, Ill., was charged with battery, intimidation and neglect and police issued an arrest warrant Thursday. There was no further information Friday on whether or not she was in custody.

The security video shows a woman court records identify as Anderson holding the boy by the back of the neck and head, pushing him down the aisle and ripping his hat off his head.

She throws him into a seat, causing him to hit his head, then leans on him while he is down in the seat. Later, she knocks the boy off his seat and beats him while he is on the floor, the tape shows.

Afterward, the woman tells the bus driver she beat the boy because she "didn't like him; he's a brat," and she and the driver laugh while the boy cries for his mother.

The boy's mother, Mary Hawkins, said her son is developmentally behind others his age because he was deaf the first two years of his life. After surgeries, Zachary Fazekas now hears at 70 percent, she said.

"When you send your child out of the house with an authority, you think everything is going to be OK," she said.

Hawkins noticed red marks and bruises on her son Feb. 16, and he told her the bus aide had beaten him and threatened to come kill him and his mother if he told anyone, court records allege.

Hawkins' attorney, Garry A. Weiss, said he intends to sue Kickert, the company that contracts with school districts to transport special-needs children.

A woman who answered the phone at the bus company Friday said no one was available for comment.