I have no idea about the particulars of this story, but "special needs" seems to be the new media throw away line for anything from a kid that occasionally misbehaves to a mentally disabled quadriplegic, and everything in between those two extremes. So essentially, "special needs" tells you absolutely nothing.
And if the kid is violent, to the point of assaulting the driver, why doesnt the kid have a para~professional with her?
Because the nasty little secret of special ed is if someone calls out sick or something happens and there are not enough people little violent one has no babysitter. Tough. Everyone has to deal.