Burlington school bus aide found not guilty of punching 8-year-old special needs student
A bus aide for Burlington-based Central Unit School District 301 was found not guilty Tuesday of hitting an 8-year-old boy when he refused to ride a school bus.
Kane County Judge David Kliment issued a directed verdict after prosecutors rested their case against Jean Micklevitz, 65, who was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a child under 13 in October 2019. Kliment said he did not see proof Micklevitz punched the boy, a special needs student.
Kane County authorities said at the time the boy had asked for a juice box while entering the bus, and when informed that was not allowed, he refused to leave the entrance steps.
They said Micklevitz then dragged him to his seat and punched him several times about the head and body, knocking out two of the child's teeth.
The boy, who has autism, was receiving intensive special education services, including having an aide assigned to ride with him on the bus.
A former school district social worker testified she had given Micklevitz a plan for dealing with the child on the bus. Micklevitz was supposed to review a simple illustrated "social story" with the boy before he boarded the bus to show the child how he was expected to behave.
Micklevitz was to reward him with tokens for following the rules. She was to speak to him quietly, calmly and with a flat tone, and was not to touch him.
"Micklevitz is not on trial for failing to file the directives the school gave her," Kliment said. "She is not on trial for not handling the situation well. She is not on trial for touching or not touching."
He said he watched a video of the incident about 20 times. "There was no punch thrown, in my mind," he said.
The child did not testify at the trial. Kliment said the child was not a reliable witness. "He was completely out of control (on the bus)," Kliment said.
The school district fired Micklevitz after the incident.
The boy's mother is suing Micklevitz and the school district.