School bus aide rejects plea deal after girl, 6, is strangled in seat
🚍Fajr Williams was strangled by her safety harness on a school bus
🚍Bus monitor Amanda Davila was using her cell phone
🚍Davila's attorney rejected a plea deal
FRANKLIN (Somerset) — The bus monitor who prosecutors say was using her phone as a 6-year-old girl in a wheelchair was being choked by safety restraints has rejected a plea deal.
Michael Policastro, the attorney for Amanda Davila, 27, told CBS New York that others are to blame for the July 17 incident on the bus transporting Fajr Williams to a summer program at the Claremont Elementary School in the Franklin Park section.
The plea deal offered by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office would have sent her to jail for 10 years on a manslaughter charge, according to CBS News York. She would have had to serve the full term.
The lap belt and ankle restraints of the four-point harness were not put in place by Davila, which contributed to the harness tightening around her neck, according to the complaint. Policastro reiterated that point to CBS New York and said Davila is not medically trained to perform that task.
Policastro said Davila was on a phone call she received during the trip.
6-year-old girl struggled for her life, police say
According to the complaint and affidavit in the case, cameras on the bus show that Fajr Willilams, who is non-verbal and has Emanuel syndrome, “struggled violently for her life flailing her arms and legs,” making a shriek or gasp and kicking the window. She was unconscious by the time the bus arrived at school, according to the complaint.
Williams' mother Najmah Nash is advocating for Fajr's Law, which would require emergency training all bus staff, for bus aides to be positioned so they can see students at all times and for staff to be trained in the use of wheelchair lifts and tie-downs. An online petition has gathered over 22,000 signatures since August.
Policastro on Monday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for comment.
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