70-Year-Old Bus Attendant Shown Hitting, Biting Boy

Oct 12, 2011 5:33pm

Surveillance video just released by Florida prosecutors appears to show a school bus attendant,  Hattie Yvonne Branch, 70, yanking a 14-year-old boy by his hair and even biting him.

The footage, from June 2,  captures the 14-year-old boy engaging in horseplay and jokingly throwing a 5-year-old over a bus seat after school while the bus was parked and waiting for other students. The younger boy’s leg swung around and accidentally hit the 4’7″  Branch, who happened to be walking by.

That’s when Branch flew into a rage and ignored the driver’s commands to stop attacking the boy.

“I hate it’s happened, I really do,” Branch told police, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. “But he had set fear in me ’cause he was always threatening me, and every time he passed by me he tried to hit me in the face. And walk off and laugh.”

Branch was arrested on July 8 and released on $10,000 bail.

Fred Murphy, assistant superintendent of Polk County Public Schools, told ABCNews.com that Branch’s behavior was unacceptable.

“Bus attendants are there to provide mobility assistance and be another pair of eyes and ears,” he said. “When we watched the video, it was beyond clear that she really crossed the line.”

Murphy said Branch resigned from her position before the district had a chance to fire her.  He said she had worked as a bus attendant since 2002.

ABCNews.com’s call to Branch’s attorney was not immediately returned.

Branch is being charged with one count of child abuse, which is a felony. A trial date has not been set. If convicted, she could serve as many as five years in prison.

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