San Juana Guerrero Saldana filed suit against Angleton ISD and school bus driver Rachel Hernandez on behalf of her child, whom she described as “an autistic child who is not vocal and is therefore significantly disabled and [who] attends a special care facility in Angleton, Texas.” Saldana alleged that her child was physically assaulted on a school bus by bus monitor, Rachel Hernandez.  Both AISD and Hernandez filed motions to dismiss Saldana’s claims.  After the Court dismissed Saldana’s claims against the school district, it ordered Saldana to plead additional specific factual allegations about Hernandez’s alleged actions.  The Court then considered whether Hernandez was entitled to dismissal of Saldana’s claim against her on the basis of qualified immunity.

Because the case was in its early stages and decided on a motion to dismiss, the court was required to accept all factual allegations in the lawsuit as true.  The lawsuit alleged numerous instances of assault by the bus monitor and that video surveillance confirmed the allegations.  According to the suit, there was no rational basis for the bus monitor’s actions.  It was also alleged that the employee’s actions “exert[ed] excessive and objectively unreasonable force and caus[ed] the small boy physical and mental pain and suffering and mental anguish.”  The mother alleged that the student received injuries as a result.

The trial court ultimately concluded that these allegations were sufficient to state a claim for the violation of the student’s substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  As a result, the trial court denied the bus monitor’s motion to dismiss and is allowing the case against her to proceed.  The case is Saldana v. Angleton ISD, No. 3:16-CV-159 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 25, 2017).

Photo by dhendrix73 via Flickr

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