Polk sheriff’s office releases disturbing bus video of aide accused of hitting special needs student

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has released disturbing video that appears to show a school bus aide hitting a special needs child.

After reviewing the video, sheriff’s deputies arrested 65-year-old Brenda Nelson for felony child abuse.

“In this situation, she clearly lacked any patience at all. In fact, she was very cruel to these children. She physically abused a child and that’s just not something that anyone should have to go through,” said Carrie Horstman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Horstman called the incident on the video one of the worst cases of abuse the sheriff’s office has seen on a school bus.

“In the eyes of the law, she committed felony child abuse and as I said, it’s even more egregious because it’s against a child who could not defend herself, a child who could not verbally call out for help,” said Horstman.

She says the special needs child also suffers from seizures and the blows to the child’s head put her at risk.

A friend of Nelson’s says the actions on the video do not match the person he knows.

“She raised a handicapped child. She lives with him,” said Ed Filault who lives near Nelson. “She’s done a beautiful job with him, she’s a wonderful mother. I don’t know what happened. It doesn’t fit Brenda, doesn’t fit her at all.”

The Polk County School system has started the process of terminating Nelson who has worked as a school bus aide with special needs children since 1983.

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