Local News

Bus driver, monitor arrested for alleged abuse of student with autism in Methuen

A parent alerted school officials after noticing changes in his son's behavior.

Two women, a school bus driver and a bus monitor have both been arrested after a student with autism was allegedly abused in Methuen. 

Nancy Vasquez, 56, of Lawrence, was charged with assault and battery on a disabled person. Marlene Cruz, 38, of Lawrence, was charged with permitting abuse of a disabled person, according to a statement from the Methuen Police Department.

The department was contacted by Methuen Public Schools on Sept. 29. The district had received an inquiry from a parent regarding the alleged abuse. An investigation by Methuen Public Schools found that found that a bus monitor had physical contact with the child, and that the bus driver failed to intervene or report the matter, according to police.


Vasquez was identified as the bus monitor, and Cruz was identified as the driver. They were arrested Tuesday.

Vasquez pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Cruz pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. She was ordered to stay away from the victim’s family, from Nashoba Learning Group in Bedford, from the bus company, and to not work with children, according to court documents.

“I would like to thank Methuen Public Schools for immediately bringing this incident to our attention upon learning about it,” Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara said in a statement. “It was the school department’s prompt and thorough response to a parent’s concerns that prompted this investigation.”

Anthony Amero, speaking with WHDH, said that his nonverbal son was abused both on the way to and from school. After noticing that his son was becoming nervous before getting on the bus, he contacted his son’s school, Nashoba Learning Group. 

Police obtained video of the bus that showed the monitor pinching the student, twisting his arm, hitting his head, pulling his fingers, and using derogatory language, according to a report obtained by WHDH. The driver allegedly witnessed the abuse but did not intervene. 


The abuse began almost as soon as the student boarded and the bus pulled away from Amero’s house, he told NBC10 Boston. The alleged conduct is not believed to have been directed at any other students. 

Both employees have reportedly been fired. 

“Just keep him safe, that’s all I got to do and he wasn’t,” Amero told WHDH. 


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