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Police: Littleton school bus aide allegedly abused at-risk student

DENVER (KDVR) — A Littleton Public Schools bus aide caught on video punching and stomping a nonverbal student has been fired and arrested, and the child’s mother has hired a law firm in search of accountability from the school district.

The mother of the 10-year-old in the video spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.

“If I could say one thing to Littleton Public Schools, it would be: How dare you? How dare you fail my son in such an astonishingly preventable way?” Jessica Vestal said.

Kiarra Monte Laron Jones, 29, the now-former paraprofessional with Littleton Public Schools, has been charged with a felony count of third-degree assault against an at-risk person, court records show.

Jones was allegedly seen on the video punching an at-risk student and pushing, hitting and touching him in an unwelcoming way, according to the affidavit. The investigation started with the Littleton Police Department but was then moved to the Englewood Police Department, where the alleged assault occurred.

The law firm Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC announced that three families within Littleton Public Schools hired them after the alleged abuse on a school bus. The law firm claims the bus aide physically and mentally abused children with severe autism and nonverbal communication.

According to the law firm, this has been happening for months, with signs dating back to September 2023. The affidavit also says that there was footage of three assaults occurring in February and March.

The boy’s mother said the repeated assaults could have been prevented.

“Had bus footage been routinely audited, the torture and torment of my sweet boy could have been stopped,” Vestal said.

Littleton Public Schools responds after alleged abuse on bus

Parents said Littleton provides the bus their children ride to The Joshua School, which serves children with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities, as the public school district does not provide the services their children need.

During the news conference attended by FOX31’s Vicente Arenas, the parents praised the service provided by The Joshua School and said their concern is centered around the bus rides to and from school.

The signs started as families noticed shifts in behavior, physical injuries, unexplained scratches, bruises, a lost tooth, a broken toe, a black eye and other deep bruises on their bodies and feet, according to the law firm. The firm said Littleton Public Schools reviewed a video from one day on the bus and determined there was nothing to be concerned about.

The law firm said it received a cell phone recording of surveillance video taken from inside the bus on March 18. That surveillance video shows a woman, as the law firm said, repeatedly hitting, punching and stomping on a 10-year-old boy.

The parents of two other children came forward as well, saying their nonverbal kids with autism had been physically abused too. The parents said they had been asking for an investigation for months, but little was done to stop the abuse.

“We often have to do a lot of fact-finding to find sources of bruises, illness and injury, and the last several months have been nothing but that,” another alleged victim’s mother said.

Littleton Public Schools sent a letter to The Joshua School community and said Jones was hired in August and terminated on March 19, the day the district said it learned about the accusations.

“This kind of behavior cannot be and is not tolerated. As parents, you trust us with the well-being of your children and you should never have to worry about them being harmed when they are in our care,” the district said in the letter.

Attorneys say the entire district failed to protect the students on the bus.

“We expect there to be long-term care needs for the children. We expect there to be long-term care needs for the families,” attorney Edward C. Hopkins Jr. said.

The law firm is calling for the Colorado legislature to create a law ensuring safety. Attorneys said they want Littleton Public Schools to be held accountable for what happened but have not yet filed a lawsuit.

The Joshua School releases statement

The Joshua School released the following statement to FOX31 on Tuesday:

The Joshua School has been dedicated to helping individuals with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities attain the best quality of life for nearly 20 years. We provide the highest level of behavioral and educational support to about 100 students and families in our community.

The Joshua School is an independent organization contracted by school districts to provide educational and behavioral services to students. We are licensed and audited by the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Education. Each child’s home school district arranges and provides transportation to Joshua School, including hiring drivers and aides.

We operate separately from the Littleton Public School (LPS) district but are devastated about these terrible incidents involving the LPS employee. We share in our families’ outrage and disappointment upon learning of these abuse allegations against our students.

We were first made aware of bruising by the mother of a student in January of 2024. Self-injurious behavior and unexplained bruising are not uncommon in our students, but because of the concern of a mother trying to identify the source of her child’s injuries, we contacted the school district to request a review of transportation footage for anything out of the ordinary. At that time, LPS assured us that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. We then continued to communicate and work with the mother to identify the source of her child’s injuries.

We continue to cooperate with the Englewood Police Department in their ongoing investigation and are providing requested internal records. We continue to advocate for and support our families during this difficult time.


The Englewood Police Department confirmed Jones’ arrest and released a statement: “We at the Englewood Police Department understand the severity and the devasting impact this case has on the victims, their families, and the entire school community and we are here to provide additional resources to those affected. Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of the victims, their families, and all others associated with the school. Upholding the integrity of this case is crucial to ensuring justice for all involved and preventing any recurrence.”

The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said Jones was released on a $5,000 surety bond, must comply with a mandatory protection order and cannot leave the state. Court records show she is due in court in May.

FOX31 is working to contact Jones and/or her attorney. This story will be updated with any response received.

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