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Tri-State father claims special needs son, 7, was abused on school transit van

An aide allegedly became violent when the 7-year-old continued whispering after being told to stop.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 9:41 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Cheviot police are investigating claims by a father that his special needs son was abused on the bus ride home from school.

Sean Johnson says it happened while his 7-year-old son, Levi, was inside a transportation van during the 13-mile trip home from his special needs school.

Sean says Levi and his friend were talking in the backseat when an aide told them to “shut up.”

But Levi and his friend continued whispering, and that, according to Sean, is when the aide became violent.

“Stopped the bus, unbuckled my son, grabbed him by his arm and told him to get off the [van,]” Sean said, repeating what Levi told him afterward. “So my son in a panic ran to the back of the van on the inside, and the guy physically restrained him at that point.”

The van continued to the Johnson house. When it arrived, Sean knew something was wrong with his son.

“I had to get him from the guy’s arms,” he said.

Sean adds it’s been traumatizing for Levi. “As soon as he starts to tell you the story, his lips start quivering and he cries.”

Levi’s school is in the Cincinnati Public School District. CPS contracts with West Chester-based Universal Transportation Systems to provide transport for special needs kids.

Sean says his son was in a UTS van when the alleged abuse happened.

“Something needs to be done to make sure that the rest of these kids aren’t going through the same situation my son went through,” he said.

Currently, Sean is working with the district to find a solution to the problem. Until then, he says he’ll personally be taking his son to school.

“Definitely affects my hours at work,” he said. “I’m not able to be at work as much as I could possibly be, but I’m lucky right now to have a boss that understands.”

A CPS spokesperson tells FOX19 the district is looking into the situation.

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