JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The new school year is right around the corner with yellow buses being on the road with drivers who have a lot of responsibility.
An incident on a Tampa-area school bus is attracting attention following a fight between teenagers and a 64 year-old driver telling authorities he was too afraid to step in.
That district has a policy that does not allow drivers to get between students if something would happen.
Here on the First Coast, similar policies are place, with transportation officials saying drivers have a primary responsibility to all students on the bus.
In Duval County, district policy spells out what drivers should do if there is a physical altercation on the bus.
The driver is instructed to first to bring the bus to a safe stop and maintain personal safety. The driver is also told to "work to maintain control of students."
Other procedures in place call for the driver or the bus company to notify authorities.
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Durham School Services is one private company that transports students in Jacksonville.
That company said drivers are schooled in how to handle fights.
"We do not allow our school bus drivers to touch students, per school district policy," said Blaine Krage, spokesperson for Durham.
In Nassau County, drivers are given a little more leeway in stepping in between students after verbally directing students to break up a fight.
In St. Johns County a driver is expected to use good judgement in their efforts to stop a fight. Tim Forson, who oversees operations in the district, said the first responsibility of the driver is to the bus and the safety of all students on the bus.
First Coast News