BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Days after reports circulated a child was molested by two students on a Buffalo school bus with no aide, a mother says her son fell victim to a similar situation.
"Here we are, two different incidents, meaning that we knew this was a possibility, and we did not learn from that mistake, and we repeated that mistake," said Samuel Radford, president of the District Parent Coordinating Council.
Radford says the mother turned to his organization after repeated attempts to get results from the district. She told her story in an affidavit. It describes the constant bullying her six-year-old son, a special education student, endured on the school bus. She says she complained multiple times to his Catholic school, but no aide was put on board. Then, on December 2, the boy told her that a sixth-grader performed a sex act on him and made him do the same.
"The standards that have been set by the Buffalo Public Schools on these buses would not be good enough for my child, and if they're not good enough for my child, they're not good enough for any child in any corner of any neighborhood within the city of Buffalo," said Buffalo Common Councilman Christopher Scanlon.
Friday, Buffalo Common Council members renewed their call for the district to place an aide on every bus. The superintendent says they're already on about two-thirds of the buses, and closing that gap might not be as easy as it sounds.
"This is not just about putting bodies on that role. It's very, very difficult, A, to get applications for the role, and then find the qualified people to actually take the role," said Superintendent Kriner Cash.
"You have a problem finding people because you're not offering them a living wage, you don't give them unemployment, you don't give them benefits," said Radford.
Radford says the DPCC filed complaints with the U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights and was told an investigation has been opened.
The ultimate goal: getting an aide on every bus and preventing harm to children.
The Diocese of Buffalo released a statement about the incident, saying, “Even though the alleged conduct occurred on a public school bus and Our Lady of Black Rock officials immediately reported it to the Buffalo Public Schools, we intend to undertake our own prompt and thorough investigation in compliance with our policies and the policies of the Diocese."
A spokesman for First Student told us that the driver on the bus in question didn't see anything unusual, and the company will support an investigation.
Buffalo Police did not respond to our requests for comment, but the affidavit from the alleged victim's mother states that officers interviewed her son. It also states they reviewed surveillance footage from the bus that backed up the boy's story.
The common council's education committee has invited BPS representatives to attend their next meeting on Feb. 11 to discuss this issue. They also invite concerned community members to attend as well. The meeting will begin in council chambers at 5:30 p.m.