Fajr Atiya Williams, the 6-year-old daughter of Najmah Nash and Wali Williams, died after being strangled on a school bus on July 17th. She was the victim of negligence after her bus monitor, Amanda Davila, failed to attend to the child after she strapped her into a seat with a safety harness during a ride to school.
Williams was attending an extended school program at Claremont Elementary School. The child had special needs and was non-verbal;, yet cameras in the bus captured the child fighting for her life in the back of the bus while Davila was seated in the front, earbuds in while she perused apps on her cell phone.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office stated in a July 20th press release that: During the transport, a series of bumps in the road caused the 6-year-old to slump in her wheelchair seat making the 4-point harness which secured her to the chair to become tight around her neck, ultimately blocking her airway. During the ride, the school bus monitor, Amanda Davila was seated towards the front of the bus and was utilizing a cellular telephone while wearing ear bud headphone devices in both ears. The investigation revealed that this was in violation of policies and procedures.”
The 27-year-old Davila, from New Brunswick, has been an employee of the Montauk Transit LLC bus company for seven years. She is charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
During a bail hearing on July 25th, prosecutors argued that Davila should be kept behind bars at the Somerset County Jail, but her lawyer successfully countered that she is the mother of a two-year old who also has special needs and as a native of New Brunswick, New Jersey, she should be trusted with remaining in the state and available for prosecution.
Najmah Nash and Wali Williams have set up a GoFundMe account to pay for Fajr Atiya’s funeral expenses. “I am asking anyone that is able to donate whatever they can to help our family with funeral (janaza) arrangements as well as any outstanding medical expenses that have accrued for my Fajr,” the child’s mother wrote. “My family and I are truly devastated by this and would appreciate anyone that can help.”