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(CNN) – An Ohio bus driver is suspended without pay and facing criminal charges after she was caught on video slapping an 8-year-old autistic boy.
Surveillance cameras were rolling on an Ashland city school bus Jan. 17 as driver Cathy Goetz interacts with the boy, who was upset when he got on the bus. Goetz would later tell investigators she did not know the child was autistic and when he started screaming, she asked him to be quiet.
The video shows Cathy Goetz eventually stops the bus and confronts him. After she smacks the boy in the face, he can be heard saying, “I’m going to kill you.” That’s when goetz calls the bus dispatcher who calls 911.
As Goetz waits for Ashland police to arrive, the autistic boy continues to scream and stomp his feet and that’s when Goetz grabs him. She then tries to learn more about the boy from his brother, who is sitting at the back of the bus.
When an Ashland police officer gets onto the bus and escorts the boy off, Goetz tells him that the eight-year-old threatened her and hit and kicked her, but does not tell him that she slapped the boy and grabbed him around the collar.
“I’ve never had a child do this to me (and) I’ve been driving for six years,” she said.
After watching the video, authorities in Ashland County decided to charge Goetz with assault, menacing and child endangering.
Superintendent Douglas Marrah said, “It was the physical part that upset me, and I thought that once I saw that, something had to be done.”