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KCSO: 2 teacher assistants, bus driver arrested after assault on special needs student

A teacher assistant hit a 17-year-old student in the head with his elbow and punched him, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Three people have been arrested after a 17-year-old, non-verbal, special needs student was assaulted on a school bus on Dec. 2, 2019, according to authorities.

Robert Wilson, 40, from Powell, was arrested for hitting the student with his elbow before also hitting him in the face, which broke the student's nose and chipped his tooth, according to records. He was arrested for aggravated assault. Wilson was a teaching assistant when the incident happened, authorities said.

Authorities said two others were arrested for the incident authorities — Elena Banks, 37, from Knoxville and Jeannie Hurst, 55, from Knoxville. According to records, neither reported the assault and are both have been charged with a failure to report child abuse.

Records obtained by 10News show Banks was arrested at least three  times over the past 16 years for various driving infractions.

In the summer of 2004, she was charged with driving on a revoked or suspended license. In May 2005, Banks was arrested on two counts of driving on a suspended license. Then in June 2015 she was arrested for driving on a suspended license charge.

Hurst was driving the school bus when the incident occurred, while Banks was sitting directly behind the 17-year-old student, according to records. 

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Knox County Schools has released a statement addressing the alleged assault.

 “The safety and security of students is our most important priority. After becoming aware of this incident, Knox County Schools took prompt action regarding the employees who were involved," KCS Director of Public Affairs Carly Harrington said.

KCS said Robert J. Wilson was fired Dec. 4, 2019. Wilson's career with KCS originally started as a substitute in September 2014, he was later hired in October 2014 as a special education educational assistant at Ridgedale School. He resigned from that position Aug. 21, 2015, but again became a substitute in September 2016 and was hired March 13, 2017 as a special education educational assistant at Ridgedale. 

Elena N. Banks resigned Dec. 4, 2019. Banks was originally hired as a substitute on April 17, 2018, and then hired as a special education educational assistant at Ridgedale on Oct. 3, 2018. 

Jeannie Hurst was suspended from the roster on Dec. 5, 2019. Hurst was a part-time bus driver who was accepted onto the eligibility roster on August 14, 2015.

Hurst has worked two different times as a bus driver with KCS, according to the system.

She drove for two contractors from 2009-14 and then stopped. She resumed being a part-time driver for a third contractor in 2015, according to KCS, and was on the eligibility roster until her suspension in December 2019.