Mother of 6-year-old who died during bus ride speaks out at school board meeting
The girl died while harnessed in a wheelchair.
A New Jersey mother is demanding answers from her local school board after her 6-year-old daughter who uses a wheelchair died on a bus ride to school.
"What will be your course of action to ensure that this doesn't happen to any other family?" Najmah Nash, the mother, said at a Thursday board meeting, according to WABC in New York City.
According to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, the child, who used a wheelchair, was being transported on a school bus to an extended school year program on July at a local school in Franklin Township on Monday morning when she became unresponsive.
During the ride, "a series of bumps in the road caused the 6-year-old to slump in her wheelchair seat making the 4-point harness which secured her to the chair to become tight around her neck, ultimately blocking her airway," the prosecutor's office said in a statement on Thursday.
The school bus monitor who secured the child to the chair was seated toward the front of the bus at the time and "was utilizing a cellular telephone while wearing earbud headphone devices in both ears," prosecutors say. This was in violation of policies and procedures, according to the prosecutor's office.
The monitor, Amanda Davila, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child on July 20. ABC News has reached out to her attorneys for comment.
In a statement following the student's death, school district superintendent John Ravally said, "Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with this student's family and friends."
Ravally added that the matter is part of an "ongoing investigation."
Nash was joined by other parents of disabled students at the board meeting.
"Until now we have all been working with them individually to fight for our kids but they have either placated us or yes'd us to death with no significant change," Nash said in a Facebook post calling for people to attend the board meeting. "If we can unite and show them we have all been paying attention and we are all unhappy, we can make a difference."
"How are you choosing these transportation providers?" she said to WABC, demanding the district do its own investigation into the deadly incident.
According to WABC, board members at the meeting invited Nash to connect with them on her demands when she is ready.