Bus drivers told not to stop fights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There were more than two dozen punches, kicks and stomps in a relentless assault on a 13-year-old boy riding a school bus in Pinellas County, a beating caught on bus surveillance video last month.

Bus driver John Moody, 64, didn't step in to stop the fight, but instead called dispatch for help.

If the same brutal violence were to take place on board a Duval County school bus, School Board officials say their bus drivers would do the same thing.

That's surprising to some parents.

"What if that was your child, would you want the bus driver to step in before the kid gets really hurt?" Mrs. Johnson said. "As my own, I would say yes."

Duval County has standing contracts with four different bus companies this school year, and as a policy, the companies say they've been told not to intervene.

Durham, First Student, Student Transportation of America and Birnie Bus all abide by the same rules.

According to the Duval County School Board, the top priority is bringing the bus to a stop and maintaining their own personal safety.

Drivers are instructed to call their dispatch office and 911, if required. They are to notify the district of their exact location, and they are asked to administer first aid to the victim if necessary.

So what if the fight on the bus is potentially life-threatening? Essentially, the rules for bus drivers remain the same. Drivers are instructed not to lay a hand on student passengers, because if they do, they open themselves up to litigation.

Some parents say it's a policy they understand.

"You look at the youth of today, you don't know if they have weapons on them, you put yourself in danger when you do that," Johnson said.

"We've got out-of-control children, families, dysfunctional families out of control, and that's a problem," parent Teresa Graham said. "It's just a violent society we live in."

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