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Fajr Atiya Williams

6-year-old girl in wheelchair dies on school bus in New Jersey

July 21, 2023
Fajr Atiya Williams was choked to death by the harness that was securing her chair; a 27-year-old school bus monitor has been charged with manslaughter.

A 6-year-old girl with special needs died aboard a school bus in New Jersey after the harness that secured her to a wheelchair choked her.

WNBC-TV reports that the incident occurred Monday as the girl, Fajr Atiya Williams, was on her way to an extended school year program at Claremont Elementary School in Somerset, N.J., said Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald 

The girl was born with a chromosome disorder known as Emanuel syndrome, which made her unable to speak or walk.

Fajr boarded the bus around 9 a.m. at her home, and the wheelchair she used was secured in the back of the vehicle by the school bus monitor. But as the bus was on its route, a series of bumps in the road caused the girl to slump in her wheelchair — causing the four-point harness that secured her to the chair to become tight around her neck, preventing her from breathing, the county prosecutor said.

As that was going on, authorities say, the monitor, Amanda Davila, 27, was seated toward the front of the bus and was on her phone with earbuds in both ears. An investigation found that doing so was in violation of policies and procedures for school bus monitors.

After the girl was found unresponsive, she was rushed to a nearby hospital, but medical workers were unable to revive her.

Davila has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree child endangerment.

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