Family claims child confined to wheelchair was neglected after f - News, Weather & Sports

Family claims child confined to wheelchair was neglected after falling off bus

Julianna "Julie" Stone Julianna "Julie" Stone
Miranda Higdon Miranda Higdon
Larry Wilder Larry Wilder

CLARKSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Children with special needs rely on special assistance. The family of a young girl who can't talk and or walk said their young daughter was neglected and injured after her wheelchair fell from the bus.

The girl's parents said the adults on the bus are to blame and they plan to take the school system to court.

"We didn't know when she was a baby at just 5 days old, that she was having seizures," said Miranda Higdon the mother of 7-year-old Julianna "Julie" Stone. Julie was born with a rare vitamin B-6 deficiency known as Pyridoxine. Julie can't speak or take food by mouth, she is also confined to a wheelchair. Still, she's a happy little girl who inspires her mother Miranda Higdon.

"When I think I'm having a rough day or what not, I know she's had it rough, she's my little angel," Higdon said of her daughter.

The Spring Hill Elementary first grader loves her teachers and loved riding her special needs bus. That is until the third day of school on August 5.

Higdon was at work when she was told about the accident, "All that was said was Julie had been in an accident and her nose was bleeding and the school wanted me to come and pick her up."

Higdon said she was shocked to get to the school and learn that no one called 911. She was told the bus driver failed to lock her daughter's wheelchair in place, "She fell down to the ground and landed on her face," Higdon said.

Besides a broken nose and several scrapes, doctors discovered the force of the heavy tray from Julie's wheelchair hit her stomach and feeding tube.

"It pulled internally from her intestinal area and coiled into her stomach," she said, "So she was getting sick a lot every day."

Higdon said it's procedure for the bus aide to assist the driver anytime a wheelchair is lifted.

We asked the family's attorney Larry Wilder where the aide was during the accident? He replied, "The aide according to the individuals at the scene was at the front of the bus nowhere near where Julianna was."

"I was very upset," Hidgon cried, "I almost lost her when she was two-years old and she's my everything and for that to have happened to her," she said, "I'm very upset."

Fifteen days later, Kimberly Knott, the Superintendent of the Clarksville Community School Corporation which provides the bus, sent a letter to the family with what she said was a heartfelt apology. While Julianna's parents don't believe it was intentional, they said when it comes to special needs children, there's no room for mistakes.

"My trust has been completely broken," Higdon said, "I have not put her back on the bus, I refuse to," she continued, "I don't want this to happen to another child."

The parents said they are also suing to help cover their daughter's medical costs. They've been told the bus driver is no longer working for the school system, but officials with Clarksville Community Schools said they can't comment on the driver or pending litigation.

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