Kelly Holleran May 8, 2013, 8:59pm

The parents of a young boy have filed suit against the bus company and the drivers who they claim duct taped their son’s arms together during his bus ride to school.

Robert Wainner and Kristina Miller, who are the parents of a boy identified only as A.W., claim their son was riding on a bus operated by defendant Durham School Services on April 24, 2012, when a bus monitor, defendant Gertrude Gebhart, restrained A.W.’s body and arms with duct tape. A.W. became scared of further adverse actions, according to the complaint filed April 23 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

“Gebhert’s actions prior to and after battering A.W. caused him to reasonably apprehend he was going to be further battered,” the suit states.

Because of the incident, A.W. suffered a great deal of pain and anguish and his parents incurred medical costs, the complaint says.

Gebhert negligently failed to render aid to A.W. after causing him injuries and failed to seek help when she saw A.W. was hurt, the plaintiffs claim.

Durham negligently failed to incorporate appropriate hiring guidelines into its practices, failed to create adequate policies on its buses, failed to adequately train its employees on how to handle children with special needs, failed to supervise its employees to ensure the safety of children transported on the buses and exposed A.W. to harm, the suit states.

In addition to Durham and Gebhert, the plaintiffs name bus driver Charles Witthofft as a defendant, saying he negligently allowed Gebhert to restrain A.W., failed to render aid to A.W., failed to notify Durham or law enforcement authorities that A.W. was bound, failed to seek relief for A.W. and failed to warn people of Gebhert’s plan to duct tape A.W., according to the complaint.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs seek a judgment of more than $700,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Clay B. St. Clair and Natalie B. Stepping of Crowder and Scoggins in Columbia will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-212.

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