JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The local school board is stiffening penalties in its Student Code of Conduct for students who are involved in fights on school buses, The Florida Times-Union reports.

Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti told the newspaper that the Duval County School Board is recommending changes to the penalties because of a need for “clear accountability on the bus,” according to the newspaper. Mark Sherwood, a spokesman for Duval County Public Schools, told The Florida Times-Union that during the past school year, there were 558 fights on 636,120 bus trips — one fight for every 1,140 trips.

Students currently serve up to five days' in-school suspension and 14 days' bus suspension for their first fight on a bus, and six to 10 days' in-school suspension and permanent suspension from the bus for a second fight, according to the newspaper. With the changes to penalties listed in the Code of Conduct, the first fight would cause a 30-day removal from the bus and a second fight would mean a seven-day out-of-school suspension. The student will also be referred to the district’s hearing office for possible removal of bus privileges for the entire time they attend the district’s schools, The Florida Times-Union reports.

Sherwood also told the newspaper that the penalty changes “recognize the significant risk of fighting on a bus while it is moving, therefore more severe discipline is under consideration.”

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