Florida’s Polk County will be putting armed deputies on school buses carrying at-risk children after students were caught on video knocking out another student on the bus.
The school district is ordering one deputy on board each bus to Don Woods and Bill Duncan Opportunity Centers, alternative schools for at-risk students.
"With this temporary measure, we can guarantee the safety of those kids," said sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilder.
Over the summer district officials plan to find another safety plan for the buses.
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"We are going to have order on that bus one way or another,” said Dick Mullenax. “We provide transportation to those schools, but if they can't behave, we will see where we go from there."
Two teen gang members were arrested on felony battery charges earlier this month after they were caught on video knocking out another student. One of the suspects, 15-year-old Christopher Dawayne Lewis, was already in a juvenile justice diversion program on previous battery charges when he was arrested, The Tampa Tribune reported.
"We are reevaluating how we track student ridership information, in hopes of preventing such incidents," the district said in a statement.
According to Fox 13, parents were happy to hear about armed deputies riding the bus.
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"Police officers are even better trained than teachers to respond to incidents," parent Russ Pickup told Fox 13.
"Nowadays the kids are beating up the grownups. It's real bad, so yeah," said parent LeShon Pervall.
"They're not going to be these hard-core monitors,” Wilder said of the deputies. “They're just going to be there, have a chance to interact with those kids, maybe get some information with things that are going on, It's not going to be an adversarial relationship.”