Florida school bus attendant allegedly struck child with belt 9 times
POLK COUNTY, Fla. - A school bus attendant in Florida allegedly hit a child with a belt nine times, and is now facing felony child abuse charges.
The Winter Haven Police Department says that Loni Covington, also known as Miss Loni, allegedly beat an 11-year-old boy on his side with a belt on November 15, 2022, according to FOX 13.
Covington allegedly flicked the child on the ear or neck on Nov. 14, 222, and she also allegedly grabbed the boy's sister on the wrist to snatch a picture away from her hand on Nov, 16, 2022.
When Covington allegedly hit the 11-year-old boy with the belt nine times, the child's grandmother said she saw belt marks on his back and side. She took pictures of the alleged injuries and gave them to Polk County School Transportation.
One of the children said that Covington would force all three of the siblings to sit on a seat that's designed to only hold two children, police said. The child said that the person sitting on the end of the seat always fell off the edge whenever the bus turned or stopped.
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Police began investigating after the children's grandmother filed a complaint on Nov. 17, 2022.
The Winter Haven Police Department says that Loni Covington, also known as Miss Loni, allegedly beat an 11-year-old boy on his side with a belt on November 15, 2022, according to FOX 13. (Polk County Sheriff's Office)
When talking to police about the incidents, Covington said that she told the 11-year-old boy to sit down after seeing him standing on the bus, saying that he talked back to her. Police said that Covington then asked a different student to hand over his belt, but Covington says she used it to hit the floor as well as the back of the seat.
Video obtained by detectives working the case show that the belt made contact with the student nine times, police said.
Covington was arrested and initially charged with one count of felony child abuse without bodily harm.
The Polk County School Board said that Covington's alleged behavior isn't acceptable.
"This is unacceptable behavior for anyone who works with children. We appreciate the Winter Haven Police Department for conducting a thorough investigation and helping us protect our students, a statement from the school board read.
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