Teacher's union defends Brevard superintendent who failed to stop for school bus

Superintendent Desmond Blackburn issued warning from Melbourne Police

MELBOURNE, Fla. – The president of Brevard County's teachers union defended the district superintendent after he received a warning for failing to stop for a school bus last week.

"I'm sure he's embarrassed. He knows what he did," Brevard Federation of Teachers president Dan Bennett said.

Bennett battled with Superintendent Desmond Blackburn over higher pay for teachers, but when Blackburn received a warning on March 27 for passing a school bus, the union president said continuing criticism in this case is uncalled for.

"There are always people mad at the school board. They're always mad at the superintendent," Bennett said. "They love something like this, your internet trolls, your people that are bitter about whatever."

Melbourne police Thursday elaborated on the incident and said the superintendent and the school bus on Wickham Road were going opposite directions and the bus' yellow lights were flashing.

While Blackburn should have been preparing to stop, legally, he could still pass, police said.

Police said the bus and the school district-issued SUV were crossing side-by-side when the bus driver flipped the stop sign.

While technically a violation, police said Blackburn did not blatantly disregard the law or the safety of children.

Blackburn did not tell the officers his position, according to police.

"He was professional, accountable for his actions," the Melbourne Police Department said in a statement.

"Certainly, embarrassing, but it doesn't make a huge difference in the lives of teachers and the operation of the school district if the superintendent gets pulled over and gets a warning," Bennett said.

Police ticketed over 100 people during a safety program last week.

In a statement, Blackburn thanked police for their work and said he was given a warning. 

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