A mother is demanding a Dallas ISD school bus driver be fired, claiming he heard her 5-year-old daughter’s cries for help on board his bus and did nothing.
Audrey Billings said video released to her after she paid a $600 fee shows her daughter being attacked by three older, bigger students.
Bilings' 5-year-old daughter Alexis' smile turned to cries for help in early November 2019, leaving her mother seeking the truth about what happened for weeks.
“I was very sad. I was very angry. I was very disappointed,” Billings said.
It started when her daughter came home crying on Nov. 11, and said she’d been hit by a boy on the bus.
“I thought it was going to be a kid thing: a couple slaps,” she said. “In my wildest dreams I never could’ve imagined, my brain could not comprehend what I was going to see.”
It took weeks for the video to be released, partly because of the holidays and partly because parts of it had to be redacted to protect other children’s privacy.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The video, released to Billings last weekend, is 13 minutes long.
It shows children from different charter schools riding home together in a small blue bus used for the district’s choice and specialty school routes.
Billings’ daughter is seen seated a few rows behind the bus driver when she is hit by an older, bigger girl.
Her first cry for help happens about two minutes into the video.
“Bus driver,” Alexis can be heard yelling.
The driver appears to say, "leave her alone, kid," but continued to drive.
“He heard her and he commented to her and he did nothing,” Billings said.
Billings said she sought and received help from her daughter’s principal and was told it was protocol for the bus driver to stop when possible to investigate a situation like this.
That never happened in this incident, according to the video.
Instead, the incident continues, and two older boys unbuckle their seat belts and join in.
One boy appears to use a pencil to poke Alexis, presses his elbow up to her neck and puts her in a chokehold.
Alexis can be seen hitting back, trying to defend herself, but can’t.
She is visibly petite; small even for her age, according to her mother.
“She [Alexis] did make the comment, 'I thought he was going to kill me,'” Billings said.
The attack only ended at the girl’s stop.
“I don’t know what made me more angry: seeing my daughter attacked or seeing an adult ignore her cries for help,” Billings said.
Dallas ISD spokeswoman Robyn Harris released the following statement to NBC 5:
"Dallas ISD is aware of the incident and immediately took action to permanently move the bus driver to another route, following the concern. Additionally, students have been disciplined per the Student Code of Conduct. As always, student safety is our top priority, and we remain committed to ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all student."
Something else that has concerned Billings is that she had to pay $600 to see the blurred video of the incident.
“How many parents couldn’t afford that?” she asked. “A lot of parents, especially in Dallas ISD would not be able to afford that and I don’t think that it’s right.”
While her daughter has no lasting physical marks, Billings said she couldn't help but feel regret.
“I can’t go back and help my little girl who’s crying, who’s asking for help with an able-bodied adult," Billings said. "She felt alone.”
Billings admitted she was preparing legal action against the school district.
She also filed a police report, is seeking charges against the children and wants the driver fired.
Billings also said she wanted to see changes on school buses to keep older charter school students separated from the youngest children.