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Lawsuit alleges school bus aide slapped autistic boy

A north suburban special education school bus aide slapped an autistic student who cannot speak, according to a lawsuit filed by the boy’s mother, who claims she uncovered the alleged abuse after putting a recording device in her son’s backpack.

Nabiha Zaya filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Niles Township District for Special Education No. 807, and school bus company Positive Connections.

Zaya started putting the recording device in her son’s backpack after she noticed he became reluctant to board his school bus, according to Zane D. Smith & Associates, the law firm representing the family.

The boy, Isiah Odisho, cannot speak and attends special education classes at the Julia S. Malloy Education Center in Morton Grove, the law firm said in a release.

According to the suit and the family’s lawyers, the recording device revealed that an aide raised her voice at the boy on the bus in November of 2011, and yelled, “Get your hands out of my pocket,” before slapping and hitting the child.

The same woman also yelled at the boy, “Get your hands off my chest or I will break your fingers. Word,” before hitting him again, the suit claims.

The boy’s family said he required medical treatment after being hit, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also names as defendants the bus aide and a bus driver who allegedly saw her hit the boy, but did not report it. There was no surveillance system on the buses, the suit says.

Neither the Evanston office of Positive Connections nor its parent company could be reached for comment Wednesday night. A message left for the school district was not immediately returned.

Zaya is seeking an unspecified amount in damages, plus the costs of the suit.

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