Attorney: Mom of special needs boy to blame in Dist. 301 bus attack
A bus aide in Burlington School District 301 who was charged last fall with punching a special needs student in the face and knocking out two teeth contends the boy's mother is to blame, arguing the child had been restrained that morning, had not been fed and that the parent watched and did not intervene.
Jean M. Micklevitz, 64, of the 300 block of South Street, Burlington, is charged with aggravated battery to a child under 13, a felony that carries a sentence ranging from probation to up to five years in prison. The charges stem from the attack that occurred when Micklevitz, a retired firefighter/paramedic from the Burlington Fire Protection District, was working as a part-time school bus aide for the district.
When the student got onto the bus Oct. 2, he asked for a juice box, but Micklevitz told him food and drink were not allowed. The student refused to move from the bus steps, and Micklevitz grabbed him, dragged him to his seat, and then struck him in the face several times and knocked out two teeth, according to prosecutors.
The boy's mother sued in late November 2019. Micklevitz's lawyer, Michael Bersani, recently submitted affirmative defenses in the case, arguing the boy was unfed, restrained earlier that morning, and was put on the bus in a "highly dysregulated state."
The boy's mother failed to intervene and stood at the door of the bus observing, and any injuries to the boy were a "direct and proximate result" of her negligent acts or omissions, her attorney argued in court records. The lawsuit also cites the Illinois Local Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act as protection for Micklevitz unless her actions were proven "willful and wanton."
"(Micklevitz) is not liable for any negligent supervision, nor is she guilty of willful and wanton conduct," her attorney argued in the lawsuit.
Bersani could not immediately be reached for follow-up comment Wednesday. James Pullos, the lawyer representing the family, declined to comment.
The litigation against Micklevitz and the school district seeks unspecified damages, and the parties are next due in court for the lawsuit on June 16.
Micklevitz was due in court this week on the criminal charges, but her case, like most in Kane County, has been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is free on bond and next due in court June 12.