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Pinellas school bus driver faces child neglect charge in school bus fight

6:16 PM, Jul 22, 2013   |    comments
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Video: School bus driver faces child neglect charge

Another student on the bus shot cell phone video of the three teens as the beating took place, and later posted it online. This is a still image from the recording.


Gulfport, Florida - The Pinellas school district's internal investigation into a school bus driver has concluded with his retirement. But John Moody's troubles are not over; now he faces a felony charge.

Cell phone video recorded on Moody's bus on July 9 showed three 15-year-old students beating a 13-year-old. The victim was left with a broken arm, cuts and bruises.

The video that captured the fight also showed no one trying to stop it, not even the bus driver. Moody, 64, is a 17-year veteran with the school district.

"When the fight started on the bus, he did stop the bus and call dispatch," explains Melanie Marquez Parra, spokesperson with the Pinellas School District. But police say Moody did little else.

"He is the adult the caretaker. You expect him to intervene at some point," says Sgt. Thomas Woodman with the Gulfport Police Department. Woodman later adds, "We will charge him with child neglect for failure to act."

The Pinellas school district hired Moody in 1996. Between 2003 and 2006, Moody received three letters of caution, one letter of warning and in January 2005, a written reprimand for "Failure to follow appropriate procedure and take necessary action to handle a fight on the bus."

District officials say drivers should take reasonable measures necessary to separate students to preserve safety and prevent injury. In this case, Gulfport Police say Moody stayed in his seat and asked students to intervene. 

It will be up to the state attorney's office to prosecute. 10 News tried reaching Moody at home for a comment, but he was not available. 

According to the school district, Moody's bus routes last year included Sawgrass Elementary, Westgate Elementary and Tyrone Middle School.

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