Jeanette Burrage charged with assault after slapping child.
A former judge, former state legislator, current city councilwoman, and soon-to-be former school bus driver is facing fourth degree assault charges resulting from an incident on a bus March 10. Ms. Burrage was the bus driver when the young man apparently became agitated. His mother, Elizabeth Lyshol, told Seattle’s Fox Q13 News that her son usually takes different bus but he ended up on Ms. Burrage’s bus because of a staffing shortage.
Ms. Lyshol’s son is only six years old and appears to be standing on the seat in the video. He has his back up against the window with Ms. Burrage and another school employee blocking him in from the aisle. You can hear the slap on the video and see the result of it. She hits him so hard that he is thrown against the seat in front of him. According to the Sky Valley Chronicle, Ms. Lyshol believes her son was getting agitated because he wanted off the bus.
Police were called to the bus for a disturbance but were not told that an assault occurred when they arrived even though another employee was clearly a witness to the incident. It was only after the video from the bus was reviewed by Highline School District officials that the assault was discovered. School district employees reported the incident to the SeaTac police department on March 18.
Ms. Lyshol is understandably upset about the incident. She says in the interview, “It was really hard to see that happen. It hurts my heart.”
She wants to make sure that this does not happen to another child.
According to Ms. Lyshol, routine is very important to her son because of his autism. Many children with autism need to have routine in order to function. They can become agitated when that routine is broken and need adults who are compassionate and understanding to diffuse the situation. Unfortunately for the student, Ms. Barrage was neither of those things.
Ms. Burrage is no stranger to controversy, she became known as the ‘skirts judge’ for threatening to sanction female attorneys who did not wear skirts in her courtroom and had an unusual number of attorneys opt-out of her courtroom. According to Seattle Weekly in 2006:
“While Burrage served as judge, an unusual number of attorneys opted out of her courtroom. Refusing to appear before a judge by employing an “affidavit of prejudice” is the ultimate insult and not done lightly. According the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, in the first four months of 1996, lawyers chose not to appear in front of Burrage 87 times, five times more than any other Superior Court judge.”
This latest incident may finally derail her political career but she is not going down easily. She has stated that she will not be resigning from her position on the City Council. She will not be so lucky with her bus driving position though. According to a spokesperson for the school district, they have initiated termination proceedings.
Watch the video via FoxQ13:
Featured image via Kent Reporter