Des Moines Councilmember charged with slapping special needs student

Print This Post  Email This Post

From our sister site The Waterland Blog:

by Jack Mayne

Des Moines City Councilmember Jeanette Burrage has been charged with assaulting a special needs student riding on a Highline School District bus she was driving.

King County Sheriff’s detectives investigated the March incident and then recommended fourth degree assault charges be filed against Burrage, a one-time state legislator and King County Superior Court judge.

Read the full story here.

Print This Post  Email This Post


16 Responses to “Des Moines Councilmember charged with slapping special needs student”
  1. wondering says:

    Oh, wait a sec while I pick up my eyeballs! This individual seems to have “anger” issues.
    Who is the adult here? She is well aware that spanking is no longer allowed in school, let alone a demeaning action like slapping a small defenseless child.

    • johhn says:

      The kid who was “slapped” (not much of a slap from what I could see) was in response to this kid slapping another kid in the face.
      Imo this is much ado about nothing and if the special needs kid cannot behave himself in public without slapping other kids then he needs to be on a special needs bus.

      • Carol Sheppard says:

        He is a six year old autistic child. A slap of any kind is inexcusable in a typically developing child, let alone an individual with special needs.
        Your attempt to minimize Burrage’s culpability displays an embarrassing level of ignorance.
        He was supposed to be on a special needs bus, but there was some problem that caused him to be sent on a regular bus. This is much ado about SOMETHING big. A sitting Des Moines council woman struck a special needs child. There is no excuse.

        • jenny says:

          Please give some examples of how to get a violent out of contol autistic child under contol? I’ve been around situations like this, but I was lucky enough to be able to just walk away and let a professional, trained in mentally disabled children, handle it.

  2. Tom Taaffe says:

    I agree with Ms. Wondering that slapping a defenseless child is a horrific act but, before Ms. Burrage is tried by news media and is carted off to the gallows by the howling mob, perhaps folks should withhold final judgment until all the evidence is in.

  3. Nicky says:

    How much evidence is needed?!!! The video is very sufficient to see that she should face charges in front of a judge/jury. Several adults standing over a child and showing no signs of trying to help him. This is absolutely disgusting.

  4. jimmy says:

    Well the video shows the kid hitting the lady then her hitting the kid back witch of coarse it’s wrong for her to do that but what this video does not show is the whole story. What led up to this why was this kid as reported on the water land blog in the comments not on his regular bus. Does this lady have a history of getting upset with students. What was her thought process that led to her doing that was it a split second decision or do you think she woke up that morning and said to her self. I am going to smack one those kids on my bus today ini minni miny Mo! Wham get off the seat! Oh wait is that a camera recording me oh no. Time for a paid leave of absence.

    • wondering says:

      Jimmy,I’m noticing lots of improvement in your comments.

      I agree with you mostly except about the paid leave. She probably has some leave accrued. Also, I’d say that she has some”anger issues” which are treatable.

      The occupation of “school bus driving” in and of itself is highly stressful. If one is already under stress it doesn’t take too much to react in an undesirable manner. Maybe this will be the wake up call for her to get some badly needed help. We’ll see.

      • Jimmy says:

        Wow a reply not yelling or complaining thanks Wondering . Yes I don’t agree with paid leave either. I think you right on her needing help with her anger to. I have some anger issues my self and have gotten some help and it does help out more than most would think.

  5. notmykid says:

    “Paid leave of absence”.
    I`m getting pretty tired of this crap. How about an “unpaid leave of absence” until this thing is cleared up? Why is it every time someone, like this Burrage,
    (name fits her doesnt it, Burrage) *lol*
    who is expected to be held to a higher standard than most of us does something wrong they get PAID leave.
    She will just try and put the blame on the school district for improper training.
    She should be removed from her council seat and fired from her job, period.

  6. me generation says:

    You should have seen what my dad would have done if I was bouncing around on the seat like that causing a disturbance on a school bus… Yes another day gone by with that type of punishment and I would not utilize those methods in this day and age. Just a thought…I don’t care what I was diagnosed but if my dad gave me the look I would sit down and look straight ahead. Too me it looked like a child that didn’t get his or her way at toys are us or Wal-Mart…. But IM not a professional and don’t pretend to be. Its only my opinion. We had a term for this type of conduct back in the day It was called a temper tantrum and disruptive behavior.
    In this incident I could clearly see that young boy smack the driver in the face which looked to me like a closed fist. And she had been trying to speak with him. There are no excuses for hitting a child back but I can say there is probably underlying circumstances which led up to this… And IM sure with the driver being a former Superior court judge and highly educated individual that this will be a well presented item in a court case. If it goes there.
    Honestly I can see they are going “all out” in tossing this driver out as we can see in these recent articles. Loss of job, criminal charges being filed, Possible civil litigation. Justice HAS been served and is being served here audience…
    By the way, Do you think there will be any more incidents with this student rider.?? Are there any consequences for striking a bus driver? Both seem wrong here!!

    • notmykid says:

      Loss of job, criminal charges being filed, Possible civil litigation. Justice HAS been served and is being served here audience…

      The bottom line in all this is she snapped and struck a kid.
      Lets just say you were riding on a Metro bus and someone did that. If it was anyone else
      there would be criminal charges brought. She`s no better.


    • Carol Sheppard says:

      Me Generation-

      The accounts state that the child is a six year old autistic boy. If you are not familiar with some of the behavior that results due to this condition, you better get schooled, because this problem appears to be growing. According to the CDC: 1 in 42 boys were diagnosed with Autism in 2010. The data reported show a steady rise. Many call autism a new epidemic.

      Depending on the severity of the condition in the individual, they can be agitated by changes in their routine, and can lash out as a defense against being touched. The contact is far too stimulating to the point of physical or psychological pain. This appears to be what is happening here in the video. Not a typical tantrum, but rather an expression of fear and distress, due to unfamiliar circumstances.

      Jeannette Burrage is the adult in the situation and an arm of the educational system. She is well-educated and responsible. She knows better. And so should you. Even if the child were not special needs, a slap to a student is illegal. Period. I do not believe that the people of Des Moines want someone who is so reactive as to make them lose their good judgement representing them as a city council woman.

      • Jeff LeBlanc says:

        Who placed him on the bus?. There are dozens of stories on the web of autistic kids “going off” on school busses and IM not faulting them.. They are children , But it seems that of course they need alternative transport. So who placed him with this risk potential of acting out on this ladies’ bus? .. Does it go farther than the driver? What’s the protocol? Is this lady the only at fault person here?

  7. Highline Voter says:

    The bus driver should not strike a child. However, where is the responsibility of the administration? This student was set up when the routine was altered without notice. It set up the student and the driver to lose. How does administration get a pass on this one? That is what set things off in the first place.

    • no excuse says:

      Dear Highline Voter.
      I agree with your first sentence: The bus driver should not strike a child.
      Ultimately, personal responsibility is in question here. An appropriate response could have made up for any institutional deficiencies, but Jeanette Burrage is responsible for reacting with a slap rather than wisdom and a cool head.
      It is ultimately she who failed to exercise self-control. An internal review of the circumstances leading up to this event is called for, but trying to pin this back on someone else is a flawed argument.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!