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Russell County school employees charged in child abuse investigation

RUSSELL COUNTY, Va. - A Russell County student aide and school bus driver have been charged in a child abuse investigation.

Teresa Jo Robinson, the aide involved, is charged with assault and battery. Bus driver Carolyn Sue Salyer is also charged with failure to report child abuse.

Dollie and Donald Tucker tell News 5 they were shocked when Lebanon Middle School administrators contacted them to tell them their son was abused on the bus. Their 12-year-old son is nonverbal and has down syndrome.

"It's absolutely devastating to see your child being treated in that manner knowing that an authority figure that you trust that you send your child with every day would in return, turn around and do something that would harm him," Donald Tucker said.

According to Russell County Sheriff Steve Dye, the department opened up an investigation after notification from a school resource officer. "The school resource officer was contacted by administrators with the Russell County School System," Dye told us.

We sat down with Donald Tucker as he recalled watching the video of the incident, which he said happened during a nearly hour and a half bus ride. "It's very loud screaming literally up in his face, and then it starts to become physical. She would actually straddle him and sit on him. There's an instances of her shoving his head against the bus window or between the bus and the seat," he said.

Tucker told us watching the video was horrific. He hopes this incident sparks change. "I think they should have to review these cameras a little more often. They should look at them on a daily basis, just at random, pull them, and make sure our children are safe."

The Tuckers tell us their son is still enrolled at Lebanon Middle School, but they have been looking into homeschooling or private school options.

We are told Robinson and Salyer are expected in court next week for arraignment hearings.


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