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Special Needs Child Suffocates and Dies on the School Bus While Her Aide Used Her Phone.

The family of a 6-year-old special needs child is grieving after their child suffocated to death while riding the school bus!

Little Fajr Atiya Williams was born with a rare chromosome disorder called Emanuel syndrome, which is characterized as a developmental and learning disability that stunts growth and development, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Williams was strapped into a harness that secured her inside of her wheelchair on the school bus. During the ride to the school in New Jersey’s Franklin Township bumps in the road caused her to slump down in her chair. This movement made the harness tighter around her neck, restricting her airway and suffocating her.

According to ABC News, the bus monitor, Amanda Davila, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child in the death. She is accused by the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office of being on her phone and wearing headphones during the crucial time when Williams was slumped in her chair.

“My daughter's passing could have and should have been prevented,” said Najmah Nash, the mother of Fajr Atiya Williams.

“This was purely due to neglect and policies and procedures being disregarded,” she added.

According to prosecutors in the case, the use of cellphones and headphones are a direct violation of the busing company's policy for employees while working.

“We've entrusted these people to take care of our children,” Nash said. “They should be able to recognize if, and when, any child in their care is in distress.”

“We cannot stand by and not do anything for our children, especially when it comes to safety," said Lauren Sammerson of the school’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council, a mother of two children with disabilities.

Williams' case is the first fatality but not the first complaint about the busing system.

Complaints about children being dropped off at the wrong locations, the need for data-driven individual educational plans for disabled students and communication with parents are just some of the subjects of upcoming debate between school officials and parents, according to Sammerson.

“For some of us, particularly children who are nonverbal, it can be very disheartening when you don't get any information and you're not sure exactly what they're experiencing, what happened,” Sammerson said.

Nash says that she was excited about her daughter's progress. Her little girl had just begun to high-five her friends at school and she was making great strides. Now, that little girl with the infectious laugh is gone forever.

“I want the world to know that I, Najmah Nash, will not back down. I will not stop fighting for change,” Nash said. “And I will assure you with every fiber of my being to make sure that change comes and it comes now, and swiftly because I don't want no other family to feel the way I feel right now.”

Our prayers are with this family.


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