A former King County Superior Court judge working as a bus driver for the Highline School District has been accused of slapping a 6-year-old special-needs student.
Update at 3:50 p.m.: On Friday afternoon, Highline Public Schools officials initiated a process to terminate Jeanette Burrage’s employment, said district spokeswoman Catherine Carbone Rogers. A recommendation for termination will be brought to the school board for a vote, “so it’s not a done deal until that happens,” she said.
The Seattle Times has requested a copy of the bus-surveillance video, but Carbone Rogers said the district is required to provide 10 days notice to anyone seen in the video before it can be released. She wasn’t able to answer questions about the incident itself, but said the district has now concluded its investigation.
“It is not acceptable — ever — for a staff member to strike a student. That’s the bottom line. It’s district policy, it’s state law,” she said.
Original post: A former King County Superior Court judge working as a bus driver for the Highline School District has been accused of slapping a 6-year-old special-needs student, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
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A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday that the driver is Jeanette Burrage, a former judge and present member of the Des Moines City Council.
Sheriff’s detectives have recommended that fourth-degree assault charges be filed against Burrage, 62.
She has been placed on administrative leave by the school district. A decision on charges will be made by the SeaTac Municipal Prosecutor’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said the incident was reported to SeaTac police on March 18 by school-district employees, who viewed the bus-surveillance video from March 10, when police and school-security officers responded to a disturbance on the bus. At the time there was no indication that an assault occurred. The student was taken home by school-district security.
An internal review of the bus-surveillance video by district officials showed the driver slapping the child in the face while the student was standing on a seat, according to the sheriff’s office.
Burrage declined to comment when reached by phone Friday morning, saying her attorney has advised her against speaking with the media, though she may release a statement at a later time.
Asked if she was still planning on running for re-election to the Des Moines City Council, Burrage replied: “Probably not now.”