SEATAC, Wash. — A jury reached a not guilty verdict Thursday for a school bus driver accused of hitting a child on a school bus that she drove.
Jurors cleared the name of Jeanette Burrage who was caught on a Highline School District bus camera retaliating after a 6-year-old boy with autism slapped her.
According to our news partner The Seattle Times, Burrage claimed she did not remember the incident.
Before the trial began, the judge dismissed six of seven potential jurors, after Burrage’s elderly aunt mingled among them saying the media was hyping the case and that her niece was a “good person.”
Burrage is a former state lawmaker and King County Superior Court judge, who also served on the Des Moines City Council. She resigned from her position with the city last year after the incident came to light.
King County Sheriff’s Sgt. B.J. Myers said that when police responded to a call about a disturbance on the bus on March 10, 2015.
The incident was reported to SeaTac Police Department on March 18 by school district employees who viewed the bus surveillance video from the afternoon routes on March 10, the King County Sheriff’s Office said.
Burrage had been driving buses for Highline Transportation since 2011.
Last year, the mother of the alleged victim was very upset about what happened to her child. Elizabeth Lyshol said she watched the tape and saw the bus driver hit her son.
“It was really hard to see that happen, ” Lyshol said. “It hurts my heart. I was confused.”
“There’s never, ever any circumstance where it’s acceptable for a staff member to strike a student,” Highline School District official Catherine Carbone Rogers said.