School Bus Aide Charged with Abusing Child With Special Needs

A Northern Michigan bus aide has been charged with child abuse after an incident on a school bus.

Catherine Ryan is now charged with fourth-degree child abuse and assault and battery after an incident with a student with special needs.

The student, 7-year-old Josalyn, is doing just fine, but an incident July 18 on an Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District bus left her bruised and shaken up.

Court documents say bus aide Catherine Ryan dragged Josalyn by her arms and roughly jerked her to her feet.

“To think about something like that happening to that little girl who can’t speak for herself, can’t protect herself, can’t tell anything happened,” said John Duchin, Josalyn’s father. “It was not good you know these are the most vulnerable people in our society we have to take care of them and the ball was severely dropped.”

The district’s superintendent tells us Ryan has been placed on paid leave pending the results of their investigation.

“Our top priority, obviously, is the safety of our students, so we want to make sure everyone is treated fairly,” said Daniel Reattoir, EUPISD Superintendent.

He says there was no letter sent out to parents in the school district. Asked why he said “Well because we don’t have facts at this point, we have accusations.”

Duchin tells us they were contacted the day after the incident.

“We should have been contacted right away to come check out daughter,” Duchin said. “The transportation coordinator mentioned it was brought to his attention, to look into a possible incident and to pull the video take a look and then once he found it, he notified us”

Ryan is due back in court September 3 for a pre-trial hearing.