CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Activists are rallying for more charges to be brought against a local school bus aide, accused of verbally and physically abusing a young girl with special needs back in 2018.
In disturbing surveillance video, you can see and hear former Birnie Bus employee Kathy Retos grabbing, yelling and kicking her feet up at 7-year-old Lansingburgh student Yasmeen Richardson. Retos worked as an aide for Birnie Bus, taking care of developmentally disabled children.
“The bus monitor that directly caused harm, should never again in life have contact with anyone else’s child let alone a disabled child,” says Jamaica Miles, organizer of All Of Us Community Action Group.
Yasmeen’s mom, Yolanda Richardson, was upset on how long it took for the school district and bus company to handle the reoccurring situation. In the weeks after the latest incident, Yolanda pressed the school district and bus company to listen to the video, months later, 64-year-old Kathy Retos was charged with two felony counts of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person.
A spokesperson for Birine Bus Service INC. says Retos was terminated shortly after the company launched an internal investigation.
It was brought to the Birnie Bus Service by Lansingburgh School District in late December 2018 of a concern with transportation of a special needs student. Birnie Bus Services immediately launched an internal investigation along with the authorities and terminated the employee in question as a result of this investigation. The conduct of this individual are not reflective of the high standard of conduct the Birnie Bus Company employees demonstrate each day.Rocky Corigliano, Vice President of Operations at Birnie Bus
2 1/2 years later, Yolanda was visibly shaken up. She battled fighting back tears as she spoke out calling for accountability and justice for her baby girl on Friday. Community members helped her get the word out.
“This bus monitor who called her child a racial slur, who hit her, slapped her and abused her, should plead to the felony and also should be charged with a hate crime,” says Richardson’s Attorney Matt Toporowski.
“This case involves serious and disturbing allegations about a person that was supposed to be a caretaker of a vulnerable child. Our executive level staff has meet with the victim’s mother multiple times since the arrest of the accused, and it is abundantly clear to us all that it was a mother’s courageous advocacy for her daughter and commitment to the truth that led to this incident being uncovered. Any proposed resolution will seek to balance our ability to meet elements in the law with holding an offender accountable, while placing a priority on preventing crimes like this in the future. The case currently remains open and pending, with no scheduled court appearances at this time.”Albany County District Attorney David Soares
NEWS10 reached out to the Lansingburgh Central School District and “At this time the district has no comment on this as it is an ongoing legal matter.”