Do you think school bus drivers should be able to step in if there's an altercation?
by Emily Abbate
As a parent, you want your child to do the right thing. Unfortunately, doing the "right thing" got one 13-year-old from Florida beaten senseless by three of his classmates. I'm sure he had no idea what would happen when he got on the bus that July afternoon. But when three boys attacked him, bullied him to the ground, and beat him to a pulp in between two bus seats -- I bet he (and his parents) wish he never did.
The results? Two black eyes and a broken arm, all because he "ratted" out one of the assailants for trying to sell him drugs to school officials. The hardest part of it all? The bus driver, John Moody, wanted to help. He called dispatchers, told the attackers to leave the boy alone, but he was too petrified to step in himself.
Technically, Moody didn't do anything wrong. He did what he was required to by law. But if I was this brutally beaten teen's mom, that would be one VERY hard pill to swallow.
First things first, let's watch the horrifying fight
It's not Moody's fault that the scene escalated so quickly. It's not his fault that he was scared that stepping in would endanger his life. I know that. But it pains me to think that there was an adult on the scene who couldn't do anything to stop the horrible beating that was going on.
I have to wonder, are school bus altercations becoming such an issue throughout our nation that we have to reevaluate the way they run? Would it be wise to have someone who was more capable of aiding in such an event instead of that oh-so-common sweet older man behind the wheel?
It's hard. I remember my bus driver from back in elementary school, an older woman who we all loved for her kind spirit, great smile, and awesome taste in sweaters. I loved seeing her at the beginning and end of my day, but then again, frightening fights like this weren't a commonality like they are now.
There's no doubt that in my mind that for my parents, my safety would trump keeping that sweet bus driver on our weekly route. It'll be interesting to see, as back-to-school season starts, if this is the kind of conversation more and more school districts are having, too.
My heart goes out to that poor bullied teen and his parents.
Do you think school bus drivers should be able to step in if there's an altercation? What would you have done in that situation?