Tennessee teaching assistants, bus driver charged in assault of student with special needs


From left: Elena Banks, Robert Wilson, Jeannie Hurst. Source: Knox County Sheriff’s Office

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knox County teaching assistant was charged with aggravated assault and two others were charged with child abuse after a nonverbal student was special needs was allegedly attacked on a school bus.

According to arrest reports, Knox County School bus 164 was stopped on Beaverwood Drive on December 2, 2019 when teaching assistant Robert Wilson, 40, hit the student with his elbow and punched the student in the face. The student suffered a broken nose and a chipped tooth.

Wilson was charged with felony aggravated assault and failure to report child abuse.

Another teaching assistant Elena Banks, 38, was charged with failure to report child abuse. Arrest reports say Banks was sitting directly behind the student who was assaulted on the bus and did not report the assault to anyone.

Bus driver Jeannie Hurst, 55, was also charged with failure to report child abuse.

Wilson and Banks are scheduled to be arraigned on June 24. Hurst is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 8.

We’ve reached out to Knox County Schools for comment on the investigation and the employment status of the accused.

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