Video shows child with special needs attacked on Walled Lake school bus

Parents weren't told details about incident

WALLED LAKE, Mich. – A mother is demanding answers after her autistic son was attacked by another child with special needs on a Walled Lake school bus.

"It was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen," Val McFarland said.

The image she's talking about is a school bus video that shows the other child attacking her son.

Cal McFarland is a nonverbal child, so he couldn't tell his parents what happened when he got off the bus with scars.

Cal's parents are concerned for his health and want to know why they weren't told about it. The parents believe the school district and the bus company not only downplayed what happened on the bus, but tried to cover it up.

Only after demanding to see the bus video did they learn the true extent of the attack their son experienced on his ride home.

"It boggles my mind," Kevin McFarland said. "They wouldn't say something. I don't know what they were thinking."

Cal's parents are worried about what's going on internally with their son.

Val McFarland said they were told that Cal hit his head on the window, but it turned out that Cal's injury happened when he was attacked by the other child.

"It was the most horrifying thing I've ever seen," Val McFarland said. "I can't get that image out of my head."

Just as the bus monitor removes the other child's restraints at his stop, the boy attacks Cal. Minutes later, when Cal exited the bus, neither the bus monitor nor the driver mentioned the episode.

"All they have to say is there was an incident," Val McFarland said. "We'd like you to look into it. We want to have Cal checked out, and after that you'll see the conversation they had."

The monitor sat down and began going over the attack, and it turns out Cal's scars were from another assault minutes before. Video shows the same child reaching over the seat scratching Cal. Cal screamed for help, but was ignored.

"They should have never left that house," Val McFarland said. "They should have stayed there and called dispatch and said we have an incident."

After demanding a meeting with Walled Lake School leaders and the bus company, Dean Transportation, only then did they found out what really happened inside the bus.

"The way the adults on the bus handled it is just disappointing," Kevin McFarland said. "There isn't a strong enough word for it. It was terrible. I'm very mad."

Cal's parents have taken him out of school and will keep him off the bus. But they fear that this happens often on the bus, especially with children with special needs.

The district and bus company said it is investigating how the driver and monitor handled the incidents. They insist every child's safety is the No. 1 priority.

About the Authors:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.