Worker faces 24 felonies

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By John Bear

boul­der county» A Fire­stone woman ac­cused of phys­i­cally and ver­bally abus­ing dis­abled stu­dents while she worked as a bus as­sis­tant for the St. Vrain Val­ley School District was for­mally charged Fri­day with 24 counts of felony as­sault against an at-risk per­son.

Mon­ica Burke also faces 14 counts of mis­de­meanor ne­glect of an at-risk per­son. Burke, 51, ap­peared in Boul­der County Court on Fri­day. She did not speak, and her at­tor­ney de­clined to com­ment after the brief hear­ing.

Longmont po­lice sought charges against Burke after a de­tec­tive re­viewed 42 video clips taken from bus rides in Au­gust dur­ing which po­lice al­lege she ver­bally and phys­i­cally abused mul­ti­ple stu­dents and sprayed dis­in­fec­tant spray into one stu­dent’s face.

The school district is un­der con­tract to trans­port sev­eral spe­cial-needs stu­dents to var­i­ous schools in the Den­ver area, so while sev­eral in­ci­dents oc­curred out­side of Longmont, sev­eral also hap­pened in­side the city, ac­cord­ing to po­lice.

The case came to light after the district’s trans­porta­tion di­rec­tor, Ran­dall McKie, re­ported to po­lice in Septem­ber that a staff mem­ber of a Den­ver-based school for chil­dren with autism spec­trum disor­ders and devel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties had ob­served Burke pos­si­bly hit­ting an adult stu­dent.

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