Officials order armed Polk County deputies on school buses

Off-duty deputies required on buses for alternative schools, county says

By Michelle Dendy - Web Editor
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POLK COUNTY, Fla. - The Polk County Sheriff's Office is ordering all school buses from alternative schools to have armed deputies on board.

An off-duty deputy must be on all buses heading to the alternative behavioral management schools, Donald E. Woods Opportunity Center and Bill Duncan Opportunity Center, deputies said on Friday.

The Polk County School District said the move is after a 14-year-old boy was beaten unconscious on a bus.

"At Polk County Public Schools, we take seriously the safety of our students. In an effort to assure students are safe, all the buses serving Don E. Woods Opportunity Center and Bill Duncan Opportunity Center will have off-duty deputies on them by the end of the week," Polk County school officials said in a statement released to media. "The bus that had the altercation was assigned an off-duty deputy last night.  The bus driver has been removed from this bus pending the investigation. We are also reevaluating how we track student ridership information, in hopes of preventing such incidents from happening in the future."

School officials say the move isn't permanent and they are trying to find a way to prevent violence on the buses.

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