School bus aide Richard Mason of Brentwood, Long Island, moved in front of a 5-year-old autistic boy named Connor Shirangi on the bus to stop him from banging his head on the window — or at least that’s Richard’s side of the story, according to Long Island News 12. Somewhere along the line, Connor’s arm was broken and Richard was slapped with a third degree assault charge and acting in a manner to injure a child.
“Connor was swinging his feet and kicking the seat of the bus and Mr. Mason apparently got upset and handled him the way you wouldn’t handle anybody,” Connor’s mother, Desiree Johnston-Shirangi told CBS New York. “From what the doctors are saying, he used excessive force on my child.”
Authorities say that Mason grabbed the child’s arm and twisted it behind his back, fracturing it. The boy also has bruising on his face and abdomen. His mother says he had also urinated in his pants out of fear.
In the courthouse, an argument broke out between Johnston-Shirangi and Mason’s niece, Anisha Fluellen. “I’m not moving away from you. Your uncle didn’t move away from my son when he was beating him,” Johnston-Shirangi yelled at Fluellen. “He didn’t beat your son,” Fluellen responded. “He’s not like that … He’s not violent and this is really aggravating right now.”
Mason’s sister added, “He’s very gentle, he’s kind, he loves kids.”
Mason, an employee of ACME Bus Company, not the school district, has been suspended, and following his not guilty plea in court, was released on his own recognizance. Meanwhile, the Shirangi family is considering pressing charges against the bus company.
How would you handle this situation if Connor had been your child?