OCALA, Fla. -- Action News has learned the Marion County School board has expelled seven students accused of beating another student on the school bus.
The fight was caught on the bus security camera last month. In the video, five students were seen throwing fists, beating the 13-year-old girl. She was taken off the bus unconscious.
This was the second school bus beating in as many months. The second fight happened in Baker County. A 15-year-old beat up a 13-year-old girl.
The report details video of the 15-year-old hitting the student in the back of the head over and over.
In both of those attacks, all the bus driver did was yell for them to stop. Earlier this month, Action News looked into the rights of bus drivers during bus fights and we received conflicting reports.
The Department of Education told Action News it was up to the school districts to come up with a policy.
Two different local bus companies told us a different story. At the time, both First Student and Student Transportation of America insisted drivers can't stop kids from fighting, which is the exact opposite of what the state and local counties told us.
Student Transportation of America is now clarifying their statement made by a local representative. They sent us this new statement from Glenn Needler, Vice President-Southeast Region for Student Transportation of America.
"Your station's reporting about fighting on school buses puts the spotlight on a serious issue. Violent student fights on a bus have historically been rare. But when two incidents occur in Marion and Baker counties in two months, it raises a number of questions.
Viewers may have been misled by your headline and story implying that drivers do nothing in school bus fights. While I cannot speak for other contractors or school districts that operate their own school bus transportation, I would like to clarify that Student Transportation of America (STA) takes the matter very seriously and follows the Code of Student Conduct set by the school district.
If an incident arises here is the procedure we follow: Drivers are to immediately notify our dispatcher, and the police if necessary, pull over safely and secure the bus on the side of the road, attempt to verbally defuse the fight while doing their best to protect all other students, and wait for assistance.
The moms, grandmothers and others who make up our STA workforce are some of the most dedicated drivers in the Jacksonville system and we are extremely proud of their service. Our company procedures are designed to ensure the safety of our passengers as well as our drivers. Safety is our first and most important priority and we will continue to work with school districts in Florida and across the country to keep kids safe."
The other bus company Action News contacted has not called to refute their local representative's comments regarding the story. The former bus driver mentioned in the original report did not work for either company we contacted about the rules for bus drivers. The fights talked in the original story also did not happen on buses operated by either company we contacted.
To watch the previous story, click on the link to the side of the page.