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Richardson ISD bus monitor charged after security video shows him choking student with special needs

Earl Brooks, 52, was fired from Richardson ISD after the incident and is facing an injury to a child charge, per the Dallas Police Department.

DALLAS, Texas — A former Richardson ISD bus monitor is now facing an injury to a child charge after he was seen in security footage choking a student with special needs for several seconds during an after-school route last month. 

Per the Dallas Police Department, 52-year-old Earl Brooks now faces an injury to a child charge. 

The charge was filed on May 18, per a DPD spokesperson who added that Brooks has yet to be arrested.

In the video, which was recorded on May 8, a disturbance can be seen between a group of students with special needs during the route. 

Per investigators, after Brooks breaks it up, he can be seen in the video putting an 8-year-old boy in a chokehold after the student said something to the 52-year-old. 

"I don't think you know who you're playing with," Brooks said in the video. 

Brooks' arm then lunges toward the boy's throat, and he can be heard saying, "Stop playing with me!" 

The boy's mother, Treniece Hawkins, told WFAA that her son notified her that he was choked by a monitor while being taken home on the bus. 

Hawkins, a bus driver for the district who has worked as an employee in various roles for RISD for 14 years, told WFAA that she was furious. 

"He immediately sent me pictures," Hawkins said. "I was in tears. I was frustrated, and I was angry." 

In the photos, discoloration and ripped skin can be seen on the boy's neck. 

"When your child is in the care of someone else, you feel like they're going to protect them. Then you see stuff like this happen, and it bothers me," Hawkins said.

Per a spokesperson from Richardson ISD, Brooks was terminated one day after the incident. The spokesperson also said that law enforcement was notified after reviewing the video and that Brooks had passed a background check. 

The spokesperson also said there were no other reported incidents involving Brooks before this situation. 

"The actions of the former employee are both inexcusable and inconsistent with RISD's employee standards of conduct," the spokesperson added. 

Hawkins told WFAA that her son is in a special needs class for emotional behavior and that all the students on his bus are in the same education plan. 

She said she took him to the hospital to be checked out and that he has since recovered. However, Hawkins added that her son has trouble sleeping and also struggled to eat for days after the incident due to swelling in his throat.

Hawkins also said her son is beginning therapy due to the incident. 

"A grown man -- an adult -- attacked an 8-year-old child," Hawkins said.

"Whatever happens on these busses -- you could have just stopped and called for help if you felt overwhelmed," the mother added.

WFAA asked Richardson ISD if bus monitors receive special training before interacting with students. 

A spokesperson told WFAA, "Bus monitors only work on routes serving students with special needs and upon employment receive safety training and training related to any specific accommodations individual students on their route may have (based on each student's individual education plan (IEP)."

Hawkins questions what kind of training Brooks received and if protocols should be reviewed. 

"I have plenty of questions, I do," Hawkins said. "I feel like the district let me down." 

Hawkins also told WFAA that she had retained legal representation following the incident.

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