Jacksonville, Florida School Driver Loses It – Assaults a Number of Children – What Are the Legal Rights of the Children on School Buses?

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In Jacksonville, Florida, an elementary school bus driver recent lost it and went on a rampage by attacking a number of students on a bus. According to a story posted in the Jacksonville, Florida Times Union newspaper, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office responded to a scene of angry and upset parents along with their frightened children who were attacked by a school bus driver. The children were on their way home from Twin Lakes Elementary School at the time of the incident. The driver was upset because the children were noisy and would not quiet down. Thereafter, the bus driver allegedly slammed on the brakes and went towards the back of the bus and started attacking the children. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will be investigating the incident. In the interim, the driver has been taken off the job by Durham School Services – the company that provided the school bus services to the Duval County School District.

Students do have the responsibility of behaving and being quiet on a school bus so that a school bus driver is better able to concentrate on his or her driving. If there is a problem on a school bus, a driver can pull the bus over in safe manner and then address the situation; however, corporal punishment / assault of children on a school bus by a school bus driver is not the way to go. It puts children at risk for serious personal injuries. Furthermore, it is quite frightening for a child to be hit or even threatened with harm by an adult in an authority position like a school bus driver or a teacher. There is no provision in the Duval County School Board Policy Manual that allows a teacher or school bus driver to punch, push, assault, pull the hair, or otherwise harm a child under the supervision of the school system.

The Duval County School Board and its agents are not immune from liability just because it is a government entity that operates a public school. The Duval County School District can be held liable for the negligent and dangerous acts of his employees and agents. This goes the same for the school bus company employed by the school board.

When a parent sends a child to school, it is expected (and rightfully so) that the child will be supervised in a safe and controlled environment. It should be noted that this matter is under investigation and the school bus driver will be entitled to defend himself through an attorney should charges be brought on this action. Statements must be taken and evidence will be reviewed. If there is a video of the incident, this may help provide investigators with a better picture of the incident. You can read more about this case at Jacksonville, Florida School Bus Driver Removed After Assault Incident / Allegations.