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John MoodyGULFPORT, FL  — The driver of the school bus accused by some of not doing enough to protect a 13-year-old kid who was getting his ass kicked by three teens will not face any charges.

According to Gulfport police, the bus had left Lealman Intermediate School when three 15-year-olds — Lloyd Khemradj, Julian McKnight and Joshua Reddin — punched and kicked the 13-year-old victim dozens of times, fracturing his hand and robbing him before leaving via the rear emergency door.

The motive behind the beating stems from the victim telling school officials that one of the attackers had tried to sell him pot in the school bathroom two weeks earlier. The three boys are now facing charges of aggravated battery with one of them facing an additional charge of robbery for taking the victim’s cash.

Police initially wanted charges filed against the bus driver, 64-year-old John Moody, for failing to properly help the victim. “There was clearly an opportunity for him to intervene and or check on the welfare of the children or the child in this case and he didn’t make any effort to do so,” said Chief Robert Vincent of Gulfport Police Department.

But Pinellas County prosecutors later decided not to charge Moody, a 17-year veteran with the school district, stating that while he may not have done everything possible, he did act within the law and within district policy. Moody wasn’t required to intervene if he didn’t feel it was safe, and is only required to call dispatch.

“It wasn’t like he was looking out the window cleaning his fingernails or something like that,” said Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett. Moody, who has since retired, admitted he was scared and in shock.

Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and  Khemradj Lloyd

Joshua Reddin, Julian McKnight, and Khemradj Lloyd

To be honest, I agree with prosecutors and don’t fault Moody at all. He’s an old guy who’s been doing this job for almost two decades without incident. He was scared, in shock, whatever – and with absolutely no training when dealing with an assault like the one seen in the video.

Focusing on the driver, to me, just detracts from where the blame truly lies – the three teens that attacked the 13-year-old.

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