Johnstown police have filed charges against a local school bus driver after he was accused of “shoving” a 6-year-old autistic boy last week.
According to the affidavit, authorities were called to the Greater Johnstown Elementary School last Thursday for an assault complaint.
Police say officers learned that the school administration had been made aware of an alleged incident that occurred the day prior, involving 73-year-old Christopher Ilg and a 6-year-old boy.
Police say two school counselors, who witnessed the incident, told officers that Ilg reportedly did not want the child riding the “special needs” bus that he was driving and had removed him from it because he “got the other kids worked up.”
Authorities say one of the counselors explained that the boy is autistic and non-verbal, and told Ilg that he “must ride this bus, we do not have another option.”
“Unless he can tell me that he is going to listen and follow the rules, he can’t be on the bus,”
Police say the counselors told officers that Ilg continued to be argumentative and would not allow the child on the bus.
According to the affidavit, the counselors told police that the boy was upset and crying but “was not being violent in any way.”
Investigators say one of the counselors attempted to escort the boy onto the bus, at which time Ilg reportedly “shoved” the child, causing him to fall backwards.
Police say the counselor was able to “catch” the child and prevent him from falling onto the curb or sidewalk.
Authorities noted that the “special needs” buses are not equipped with security cameras and that the cameras at the front of the building did not capture any of the incident, other than showing the boy standing on the sidewalk.
Police say investigators also contacted the owner of McIlwain Bus Lines to make him aware of the incident.
McIlwain said that Ilg is being suspended, pending the outcome of the investigation.