Boy’s nightmare school bus ride uncovers aides of students with disabilities sleeping on job

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A Staten Island mother is putting her foot down about her son's nightmare of a school bus ride.

"Everyday I go on the bus and I cry. Its just awful," said 10-year-old Christian Donato.

Donato is dyslexic and goes to the Lowell School in Flushing.

He takes the bus from Staten Island to Queens. His mother says it takes him three hours every night to get home.

"He gets car sick and has doctor's note saying he requires limited busing, but the city isn't taking action," said Carisa Donato, Christian's mom.

Christian says he shares the bus with other children with autism from other school. He says the aides who are with the other children are either sleeping on the job or on their phones.

He started taking pictures and videos on his phone.

His mother says she immediately complained to the Department of Education what was going on.

She says nothing has been done so she got a lawyer.

"After they realize his bus ride is two to three hours long you would think they would try to decrease it in some way instead they suggested she try a different school that's ridiculous," said M'ral Broodie-Stewart, was lawyer with Staten Island Legal Services, representing the family.

PIX11 reached out to the Department of Education for their side of the story.

A spokesperson for the DOE issued the following statement:

"We have made several adjustments to the route since the school year began and are continuing to work closely with the school to address any concerns. We take this very seriously, are looking into making additional adjustments and will continue to monitor the situation."

When asked about the photo of the aide who appears to be sleeping, the DOE told PIX11, "We are investigating these reports and will ensure swift action is taken. We're dedicated to ensuring the needs of students with disabilities are met."

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