Duval’s Superintendent is calling for change after a video is uncovered of a fight on a middle school bus.
“A fight anywhere is inappropriate and we need to have immediate and fast repercussions,” says Duval County Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti.
Vitti says a district investigation has determined Eugene Butler Middle School officials have acted appropriately following the fight, which happened at the beginning of this month. The suspected attacker has been stopped from riding the bus for the rest of the year and is also facing criminal charges.
That student, however, is still allowed in the classroom. Vitti says the school’s request to transfer the student to an alternate placement was denied because the fight in question happened on a bus, rather than on school grounds.
“When something occurs on a bus or off school grounds, we don’t have as much discretion regarding consequences,” Vitti says.
But that’s something he is looking to change by the start of school in the fall.
Vitti wants to change the “Code of Conduct”, signed by all students, to include a clear guideline of consequences for fights while giving the district more ability to enforce these penalties even if it happens on a bus.
“You can put other students in harm’s way, other drivers on the road, and that’s completely inappropriate,” he says.
But even more so than just altering the Code, is making sure it’s properly enforced. Vitti says, right now, he see the Code of Conduct is not “fairly and consistently enforced” by school teachers and administrators. By the fall, he will have new trainings and systems in place to change that and, hopefully, help cut down on incidents like this- which Vitti describes as “frustrating.”
And that’s not the only safety-driven initiative that you will see coming to district schools. Vitti has a plan to place a “Dean of Discipline” in district schools in order to identify the potential for violence and work solely on cutting that down.
Vitti says, for now, the student who was the victim of the beating has been granted a transfer to another school, and they are continuing to investigate whether the bus driver followed proper protocol.