Richard Mason, 39, of Brentwood, was arrested after an investigation...

Richard Mason, 39, of Brentwood, was arrested after an investigation by Special Victims Section detectives, and charged with assault and acting in a manner to injure a child, police said. (Oct. 3, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

A Commack school bus aide has been arrested on charges he broke the right arm of a developmentally disabled 5-year-old student "in an attempt at discipline" on the ride home from school, police said.

Richard Mason, 39, of Brentwood, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with third-degree assault and acting in a manner to injure a child, both misdemeanors.

Mason pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday at his arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip and was released from custody on his own recognizance, by Judge G. Ann Spelman. He was ordered back to court later this month.

Police said the boy and an unknown number of other students were aboard the bus at about 4 p.m. Monday after it had left North Ridge Elementary School in Commack. The bus is operated by Acme Bus Corp., also located in Commack.

During the bus trip Mason grabbed the boy's arm and "twisted it behind the student's back" causing it to fracture, police said.

According to court records, the boy was treated at Huntington Hospital. Spelman said in court that Mason had no prior convictions and while the charges he faced are misdemeanors, "these are serious charges."

Mason was suspended by the Commack School District pending the outcome of the case and an internal investigation, Spelman said in court. The judge also ordered Mason to have no contact with the boy, his parents or any other children.

The Commack School District, in a statement, said that as soon as district officials learned of the allegations, Mason was suspended.

ACME "assured the district that the driver assistant had been properly screened and trained and that he had no prior incidents," according to the statement. Neither police nor the boy's mother, Desiree Johnston Shirangi, 36, of Huntington, who attended Mason's hearing, provided details of the incident.

Shirangi said her daughter, 15, went to get the boy from the bus and "he was holding his arm and crying and in a lot of pain."

Her son had bruises on both arms and on his waist as well as marks on his face, Shirangi said.

"He's scared to leave the house," she said of her son, who has autism. "We want to get him back on the bus as soon as possible to overcome his fear."

Shirangi said the driver and Mason told her the boy was hurt climbing on a seat.

Relatives of Mason also were in the courtroom. "I love him," said Mason's niece, Anisha Fluellen, 28, "and he didn't do anything." With Gary Dymski

and John Valenti

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Police ID victims in small plane crash ... What's next for Kamala Harris? . . . St. Rocco's preview . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

Police ID victims in small plane crash ... What's next for Kamala Harris? . . . St. Rocco's preview . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Latest videos

YOU'VE BEEN SELECTED

FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.