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August 13, 2013  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Former bus driver doesn’t regret breaking up fight


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast News reports that Leon Harris, a former school bus driver who was seriously injured after breaking up a fight in 2003, told the news outlet he has no regrets about his decision to intervene.

A student hit Harris with a fire extinguisher during the fight. The resulting injury left him with plates in his forehead and beneath his eye, and forced him to end his career as a school bus driver — although now he trains bus drivers.

The story comes on the heels of an incident on July 9 in Pinellas County, as SBF previously reported, in which a 13-year-old school bus passenger was severely beaten by three 15-year-olds. The bus driver complied with district policy, commanding the students to stop fighting and radioing dispatch for help, but not physically intervening. (The district reportedly advises drivers to only intervene if they determine that it would be safe to do so.)

Meanwhile, Duval County is instructing its school bus drivers not to physically involve themselves if students get in a fight, according to First Coast News.

To read the full story, click here.

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Read more about: driver training, student violence

Drivers should never have family members on the bus, to prevent that sort of situation that if their family member got into a fight. My aunt asked me what would I have done if it was my son who was getting clobbered, well of course I'm going to tear into the schmuck who's beating my son, that's mother's instinct. With that aside.... The driver did what he should have. Told them to stop and called for help. If he got into it, and was whacked unconscious, then who's going to protect the rest of the kids? It puts them all in danger.

Buslady    |    Aug 14, 2013 03:23 PM

Wayne, it is easy to look back and say...could have, should have, would have. Until you personally face that situation don't judge. Professional school bus drivers have a lot of responsibility, not just to be a safe driver but crowd control as well. If he had intervened against his District policy and something had gone terribly wrong the media would be crucifying him for that instead. It is a no win situation sometimes!

Annie Clarke    |    Aug 14, 2013 06:40 AM

I truly wonder if this Pinellas County Bus Driver would have intervened if these three thugs had been pounding on his grandson right in front of his eyes? The fact this driver suddenly is all about "policy"... Please!

Wayne    |    Aug 14, 2013 06:08 AM

I once wrote up my nephew as the result of a fight he was involved in strictly because he did not listen before hand to stop their verbal assaults on each other. I told him he was a student. He claimed I should not send him to the Principal because we were family. "Well, your dad will also be getting a phone call too." There is more tho that story than I have room for here. You might expect your comments to be treated as a two edge sword. It cuts both ways. I have a few instances where I got physically involved when I felt the safety of the other students came before mine own. Other instances I did not need to physically place myself between students all parties complied to my request to stop fighting. What most people today see usually ends up on the evening news or CNN instantly throughout the day. Good samaritan or a "duty to rescue" laws and some form of protection afforded by civil and criminal case law would help most of us understand exactly why some school systems WILL NOT allow school bus drivers to stop violent assaults between students on board school buses. Thus begs the question: "Why then are school systems being forced to introduce anti-bullying policies yet do not provide any support for employees who feel compeled to intervene against such violent bullyies?" Intervene means; come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events. School boards have access to attorney services which should be able to supply the legal paper that supports local school districts who make it a policy that employees do NOT intervene in violent student assaults. It may boil down to the fact during that instance if you think the student being assaulted will be seriously hurt or killed should you not intervene. I know what I would do if I thought a person was going to be seriously hurt or killed. It would be easier on my conscience knowing I possibly lost my job to save another person's life. I think I can live with that job loss. Dan - Indiana

Dan Luttrell    |    Aug 13, 2013 12:48 PM

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