September 22, 2006
The Columbia County bus aide accused of spanking a 5-year-old special needs student is speaking out.
News 12's Domonique Benn sat down with LaSonja Carlos as she tells her side of the story.
LaSonja Carlos has worked on Columbia County school buses with special needs kids for six years.
"This is what I've been doing forever," she says. "We love our kids, each and every one of them, and I treat them as if they were my own."
But last Friday, according to a Columbia County sheriff's incident report, a witness stated LaSonja spanked a 5-year-old special needs child at River Ridge Elementary School.
Carlos says the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.
The mother of the child doesn't think so.
"The witness says she saw her strike him twice, spanking him," says the child's mother.
"I would never hurt anybody's kids," Carlos says. "That's what I do for Columbia County, and when I wasn't working for Columbia County, that was what I was doing anyway."
According to Carlos, the child got off the bus and went to run down the sidewalk.
She says what she did relates to the way they always play on the bus.
"He was laughing and joking," she says.
Carlos says by using the game, she was trying to illustrate how that behavior could possibly bring discipline from some parents.
"The game that we play on the bus all of the time, we do for fun, could possibly turn into you getting a spanking on the behind."
"I believe she should be terminated from her job and I believe charges should be on her record," the child's mother says.
Now Carlos says it is a fight for her career and to clear her name.
"From a pat on the behind we've come all the way here, simple battery," she says.
LaSonja Carlos was never charged or arrested.
She remains on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.