LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District could sign off on a multimillion-dollar settlement for failing to protect children from a sexual predator bus driver.
CCSD trustees will be asked to approve a $9 million settlement at Thursday’s board meeting.
The case involves two children who were abused by bus driver Michael Banco in 2015. CCSD could have protected the children by taking precautions. Now taxpayers will be on the hook because of failures.
“He chose my granddaughter because he felt that she couldn’t talk,” according to one victim’s grandmother. She told 8 News Now in 2015 that Banco abused her 3-year-old granddaughter who has special needs.
Banco had been a bus driver for the school district for about 20 years. After one student spoke up about being sexually abused, investigators discovered additional victims.
“They’re very innocent victims and this is a pretty serious crime,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Deputy Chief Tom Roberts.
Banco was caught abusing students on video. There was a surveillance camera on the bus he drove, and the video became the center of a lawsuit filed against CCSD in 2020 by the parents of two victims. The parents allege the district didn’t review footage on a regular basis.
According to the lawsuit, a student reported abuse on May 27, 2015. Turns out Banco was seen on video abusing children on May 12, 13 and 26, but he wasn’t caught because the district wasn’t reviewing the video.
The lawsuit also alleges the district didn’t place an aide on the bus with Banco and the children, failed to arrange proper training for teachers and employees to recognize potential child abuse and address it, and failed to investigate after parents reported Banco delivering their children home late.
In one instance, video revealed that Banco was still abusing a child 30 minutes after she was supposed to be dropped off at home.
Banco was arrested in 2015 and is currently serving 35 years to life in prison.
On Thursday, CCSD trustees will be asked to sign off on a $9 million settlement as a result of the lawsuit, which highlights major systemic issues at the fifth-largest school district in the country.
“I just think that the Clark County School District needs to change their policy,” a victim’s grandmother said.
Two former CCSD leaders, a transportation manager and the principal at Thomas O’Rourke Elementary School were also initially named in the lawsuit.
Attorney Tony Sgro of Sgro and Roger, LLC is now representing the plaintiffs.
We asked CCSD about those systemic failures. A response came as our report aired at 4 p.m. Tuesday:
Are all CCSD school buses equipped with cameras? If not all, how many are equipped?
- All buses currently assigned to routes are equipped with camera systems.
Where is that footage stored and how long is it stored?
- The length of video storage varies depending on the camera system, with a minimum storage capacity of approximately four days. If an event is reported, the footage is stored indefinitely.
When is the video reviewed and how often is it reviewed?
- Camera equipment is regularly audited to ensure it is properly functioning. Video is reviewed anytime there is a reported incident on a bus.