DALLAS — A Dallas mother was told by her child’s school district that it would cost her $600 to see a video that showed what happened to her 5-year-old daughter on a small school bus in November. Audrey Billings did so, and what she saw left her crushed.
“I was devastated, I cried,” Billings told CNN on Thursday, Jan. 16.
The video of the Nov. 11 incident showed the 5-year-old getting pushed, pulled, poked with a pencil, and grabbed around the head by at least two students on the bus over a period of nearly 14 minutes. The 5-year-old was also shown trying to fight back against the other students.
She called out to the bus driver several times during the assault and started crying as she continued to get hit. The bus driver did not respond in the video, which did not show the entire bus ride.
It wasn’t clear from the video what prompted the children’s actions or physical contact.
Billings, who first saw the video Saturday, Jan.11 told CNN she wants a major change to the Dallas Independent School District’s bullying policy and its procedures for handling bullying incidents.
Dallas ISD spokeswoman Robyn L. Harris said “students were disciplined according to the Student Code of Conduct.”
“Dallas ISD has taken steps to improve our transportation services to further ensure the safety of students. The district has provided additional training and monitoring. We are dedicated to ensuring a safe environment for all students and remain committed to meeting the expectations of our parents and community,” Harris said in a statement.
Harris said the bus driver was immediately removed from the route.
Billings said she reached out to the school district after her daughter said students were hurting her. Billings said she spoke to the principal and was initially only given the “play by play” of what occurred.
When she asked to be sent videos for multiple days, she was told she would need to pay $600 to have each one redacted, Billings said.
Billings said she reluctantly paid for the one she viewed.
Her daughter no longer rides the bus, Billings said.