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Des Moines city councilwoman, bus driver charged with slapping 6-year-old student in face

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SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — A former Washington state judge and current Des Moines city councilwoman who now drives a bus for the Highline School District has been accused of slapping a 6-year-old special needs student.

A criminal complaint filed in SeaTac Municipal Court charges 62-year-old Jeanette Burrage with fourth-degree assault.

Burrage is a former state lawmaker and King County Superior Court judge who currently serves on the Des Moines City Council.

She did not immediately return an email and phone message seeking comment.

King County Sheriff's Sgt. B.J. Myers said that when police responded to a call about a disturbance on the bus March 10, there was no indication an assault had occurred. But when school district officials reviewed surveillance footage from the bus, they saw the driver slap the child, who was standing on a seat.

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.

District officials immediately contacted SeaTac police.  The King County Sheriff’s Office Special Assault Unit worked with Seatac police.

Police have been told Burrage has been driving buses for Highline Transportation since 2011. A school district spokesperson says the district has begun the termination process.

The mother of the alleged victim is very upset about what happened to her child. Elizabeth Lyshol says she watched the tape and saw the bus driver hit her son.

"It was really hard to see that happen, " Lyshol says. "It hurts my heart. I was confused."

Lyshol says her son needs to have a daily routine and that routine was disrupted when her child has to ride the bus home. That's why he got so upset but a spokesperson for the school district says that is no excuse.

"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.

 

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16 comments

  • CW

    THE CHILD HAD HIT THE DRIVER IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD WHILE SHE WAS OPERATING THE BUS, SHE DIDN’T LEAVE HER SEAT BUT REACHED UP BEHIND HER TO SHOO THE PERSON AWAY FROM HER HEAD….AT LEAST THIS IS WHAT I HAVE HEARD…….FAR CRY FROM AN UNPROVOKED SLAP !!!! THE PAPER IS DOING NO DUE DILIGENCE IN MAKING THIS REPORT….

    • sheila

      CW, First of all, when someone posts their comments in all capital letters as you did it makes me suspicious of their intent and their information, as a matter of fact I usually bypass reading their post all together. So if you are trying to get a point acrossed refrain from using all caps as it demonstrates that you have an agenda. Second, when you say “this is what you have heard” that means that you are relying on second-hand information and are pretty ignorant because you don’t know what that person’s agenda is either, so the info could be wrong. If the police found enough evidence in the video to file charges then that outweighs anything you “might have heard”. Looks to me like you need to take a chill-pill and get your facts straight before you post.

      • Jeff Rayburn

        Wow, where to begin? How about the fact that some sites will ban you for using all caps? That’s one. Secondly, Sheila’s post seems to agree with the school district and prosecutors, yours doesn’t. And how about a full grown adult going toe to toe with any 6yr old? Is that your idea of a good time, THINK ABOUT IT? You sound like a child, yourself, so I’m guessing you would step in the ring with a small child. Some people might think you were young, ignorant AND rude.

  • Sharon

    The kid strikes her in the video, a reaction most people would have is hitting back she makes a weak slap at most, faux news making up drama again nothing but grasping for a story so desperate

    • Sassy

      You’re kidding, right? A child hits you, and your first instinct is to hit back? WTF is wrong with you?! I’m hoping you don’t have any children…

  • Bob

    Look at the video; the child slapped her & her reaction was to slap back (inappropriate), but understandable in a human situation. I work with special needs kids & we do not have to accept being abused by kids.

  • Robert Wm Ruedisueli

    I think she needs to quietly drop out of politics, resign her position and drop off the radar. Then she will be allowed to still work in the back offices on political campaigns.

    After something like this, discretion is the better part of valor. If she doesn’t chose the route of discretion, she will be dragged through the mud with this next election, and the whole area GOP party might just be dragged with her.

  • Sara

    People who work with special needs, memory issues, and seniors are hit routinely. Most people don’t realize how difficult it is to care for those populations because you only hear about them being abused. Caregivers and medical/ teaching staff are abused all the time often without hazzard pay. She waa a bus driver/ council woman who likely was untrained to deal with special populations. Not defending her hitting back but thats why its important to be trained or choose not to work with the differently abled.

  • smith

    this woman was a judge and made me plea for a crime that i never did,she ruined my life..makine an innocent person go to jail and spend the rest of his life, being guilty of something i never did
    hope she goes to jail for a very long time,so she can see how she likes having a criminal record…

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