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Polk County school bus attendant sentenced to prison nearly 3 years after abusing students with special needs

Posted at 11:43 AM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 11:43:45-04

BARTOW, Fla. — A Polk County school bus attendant accused of abusing students nearly three years ago has officially been sentenced to prison.

Juanita Tappin was first arrested on May 9, 2019, for six felony counts of abuse on disabled adults and special needs children. She was arrested again on May 29 after authorities reviewed a month's worth of bus surveillance video.

"School bus attendant, Juanita Tappin, physically and verbally abused several special needs students while they were taken to and from school. On multiple occasions, video surveillance shows Tappin hitting the children on their head, face and hands and using different objects to abuse them," State Attorney Brian Haas said.

Tappin, according to Haas, was convicted of six counts of battery, abuse of a disabled adult, and child abuse on Feb. 3, 2021.

On April 1, Senior Judge Dennis Maloney sentenced Tappin to 2 1/2 years (30 months) in prison followed by 2 1/2 months of probation.