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Colorado bus driver who SLAPPED a 10-year-old girl for refusing to wear a face mask is fired

Colorado bus driver who SLAPPED a 10-year-old girl for refusing to wear a face mask ‘because it made her sick’ is fired

  • Bertram Jaquez was driving children on April 12 in Fremont County, Colorado
  • A 10-year-old girl on the bus was refusing to wear her face mask on board
  • Other pupils challenged her and Jaquez went to intervene in the melee
  • Video shows him confronting the girl, then slapping her across the face
  • Jaquez said ‘she just would not listen, yelling at me and the other girls’ 
  • Jaquez was fired from his job two days later by the school district 

A school bus driver in Colorado has been fired after he slapped a 10-year-old girl for refusing to wear a face mask.

Bertram Jaquez was driving children on April 12 in Fremont County, Colorado, when a young girl refused to wear a face mask. 

A handwritten statement from the girl claimed that she told her classmates that she was not going to wear a face mask because it makes her sick.

She started going ‘back and forth’ with her classmates when the bus driver walked over to see what was going on.

Jaquez, in a green t-shirt, can be seen leaning over the girl in her pink top and jeans

The girl said in her note that people kept telling her to put her mask on, and that she ‘yelled at them and said you shut up your [sic] not involved in this.’

Video of the scene shows the bus driver then slapping her across the face.

Jaquez, in a written statement obtained by KKTV, said that he was trying to explain to the child why she needed to wear a mask ‘and she just would not listen, yelling at me and the other girls.’

He wrote that ‘out of reaction’ he slapped the child once. 

The girl put her mask on and ‘ran out of’ the bus once it reached its stop.

Jaquez was fired two days later, on April 14.

The 10-year-old girl provided a handwritten account of what happened on April 12

The 10-year-old girl provided a handwritten account of what happened on April 12

Jaquez, in his handwritten statement, admitted that 'out of reaction' he slapped the girl

Jaquez, in his handwritten statement, admitted that ‘out of reaction’ he slapped the girl

A school district spokesperson said an internal investigation found that his actions ‘justified termination of employment.’

The spokesperson said: ‘Our school community is experiencing a very unfortunate situation.

‘We have had a bus driver strike a child over the child not wearing a mask on the bus. We believe it is never okay to lay a hand on a child.

‘We are very saddened by this incident. Our goal everyday is to transport students safely to school and back home, but that can only happen when everyone, including students and staff, follow the rules.

‘We are currently working to identify next steps to help our drivers with strategies designed to support a safe ride to and from school.’ 

Face masks in schools have become a flashpoint for communities across the country – in addition to the broader issue of home schooling.

Face masks in schools have become a flashpoint for communities across the country - in addition to the broader issue of home schooling. Parents in Tampa, Florida, protest against face masks in school on Tuesday

Face masks in schools have become a flashpoint for communities across the country – in addition to the broader issue of home schooling. Parents in Tampa, Florida, protest against face masks in school on Tuesday

People protest against the school mask mandate in Tampa on Tuesday

People protest against the school mask mandate in Tampa on Tuesday

Almost all students have had remote learning at some point over the past year, but different states have taken dramatically different approaches to reopening classrooms.

Parents have been frequently begging schools to reopen, given the challenges of juggling work with home schooling, and the mental health impact for their children of being isolated.

On Monday the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, announced that New Jersey schools will be required to reopen this fall on a full-time in-person basis – without remote learning as an option.

Some other states are considering whether to continue to offer remote learning, a spokesperson at the National Association of State Boards of Education said.

In Connecticut, the state has informed school districts that they won’t be required to offer remote learning, but didn’t bar them from offering it.

Many school districts are currently bouncing between remote and in-person, owing to COVID outbreaks closing classrooms.

In the past week alone, parents from Alabama to Iowa and Wisconsin have staged protests, calling for the repeal of mask mandates. 

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