EDUCATION
10/13/2011 11:58 am ET Updated Dec 13, 2011

Hattie Yvonne Branch, 70-Year-Old Florida School Bus Attendant, Beat And Bit Student

A surveillance video from a Florida school bus has surfaced that shows an elderly bus attendant beating and biting a student she says bullied her.

The incident occurred in June on a parked school bus outside Lakeland Senior High School, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The bus camera caught footage of 70-year-old Hattie Yvonne Branch wrestling, hitting and biting a taller 14-year-old boy.

From the video, Branch appears to be set off by the student tussling with another, whose foot happened to strike her during their horseplay. She told police that the student had threatened her and her response was an act of self-defense, the Sentinel reports.

The student admitted to police that he had threatened and cursed at the attendant in the past, but didn't provoke her that day.

Branch has retired from her post, and was charged with child abuse and faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

FOX 35 visited Branch's house for a response from the attendant:

She slammed her door and yelled at us through a window to get off of her property. According to the police report, Branch told the officer, "I was told by my supervisor that I could use force if necessary to protect myself when attacked."

This is one of numerous instances of misbehavior among school bus attendants and drivers. A Virginia school bus driver and special education aide were convicted of criminal wrongdoing last week -- two years after a surveillance video in 2009 documented them hitting, kicking and choking a severely autistic student.

The student's family has now entered a $20 million lawsuit against the school board, WDBJ 7 reported.

Late last month, New Hampshire bus driver Kimberly Hooley faced DUI charges after police said she hit a mailbox while bussing middle school students, and Philadelphia bus driver Frederick Poust III was sentenced to years in jail in August after he rolled his school bus full of students through 10 stop signs and hit another car, killing the passenger.