Woman, 71, gets probation for beating student on bus

Hattie Yvonne Branch pleads guilty to child abuse

BARTOW, Fla. - A 71-year-old Central Florida woman will spend a year on probation after pleading guilty to child abuse charges for beating and biting a student on a Lakeland school bus.

Hattie Yvonne Branch accepted the plea deal Tuesday rather than going to trial. She faced a third-degree felony which carried a maximum five-year prison sentence.

The Ledger of Lakeland reports Branch was arrested last year after authorities reviewed video footage of the school bus incident.

Reports indicate the teen tossed a 5-year-old boy over a bus seat and the child's feet struck Branch. That's when authorities say Branch pulled the teen's hair, hit him, bit his back twice and put him in a wresting hold.

Branch told authorities she was defending herself because the teen had bullied and threatened her.

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