Special-Needs Toddler’s Hair Ripped Out Repeatedly on School Bus

Three-year-old LouLou Wende cannot speak. When another child on her school bus began to rip out LouLou’s hair, the bus driver did not intervene. (Photo: KIRO 7)

A 3-year-old special-needs child in Auburn, Wash., was tortured by another student, having large clumps of her hair torn out while riding home on a school bus. The entire incident was captured on video, and the girl’s mother is getting the police involved.

LouLou Wende is nonverbal and has limited abilities to communicate. An 8-year-old student sitting in front of her, who the Auburn school district says has a history of behavioral problems, can be seen on the video reaching back and ripping out clumps of LouLou’s hair.

“She can’t talk!” said the little girl’s mother, Teresa Wende. “If you’re going to ask her, ‘What’s wrong, LouLou?’ and she’s screaming, something’s wrong! And he did not stop the bus one time.”

The bus driver can be heard asking LouLou what was wrong, to which the older student replied, “She took off her ponytail.” In a police report filed after the incident, their school principal was quoted as saying that the older girl has a history of hair pulling.

“It’s disturbing because in all regards, it appears the 8-year-old knew what they were doing,” Auburn Police Commander Mark Caillier told KIRO 7 in an interview.

Auburn police are investigating and will hand the case over to the prosecutor’s office.

“She has behavior issues — you know she pulls hair — why would you sit them next to each other?” Wende said.

The school district has not issued any formal statements about the incident, but a spokeswoman for the school district reached by KIRO 7 said, “I need to check on the bus staffing and will have to get back to you. Student safety is our number one priority, and we are continuing to investigate this specific incident. I also do not have any information about ‘known hair pulling.’”

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