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Polk County bus attendant accused of abusing students re-arrested on more charges

Posted at 5:49 PM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 17:53:47-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A school bus attendant in Polk County who was arrested earlier this month is now facing additional charges, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Juanita Tappin, 43, was arrested on May 9 for six felony counts of abuse on disabled adults and special needs children. She was arrested again on Wednesday after authorities reviewed a month's worth of bus surveillance video.

ORIGINAL STORY: Polk Co. school bus attendant accused of attacking kids with special needs, disabled adults

Deputies say Tappin is seen on the video hitting two previously identified victims several times during April. The video also showed Tappin abusing two additional victims, deputies say.

One of the newly identified victims is a disabled adult, according to deputies. They say video shows Tappin hitting him in the face with her hand.

The other new victim is a special needs child. Deputies say Tappin hit him in the head with a plastic bottle and the metal end of a seat belt.

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According to the sheriff's office, most of the bus riders are non-verbal and unable to speak about the abuse.

"We were hoping that we wouldn't see any more abuse when we went back and reviewed a month's worth of bus video, but we knew in our guts that we probably would," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "There are no words to describe how sickened we are to see this woman prey upon these helpless, most innocent of victims."

Tappin was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail. She faces a new count of child abuse and a new count of abuse of a disable adult.

Tappin was suspended without pay on May 15 and will be terminated at the June 18 school board meeting, according to Public County Public Schools.