HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - Experts agree bullying in schools is becoming a nationwide epidemic. But another place kids can be very vulnerable is during the ride to and from school.
School bus drivers have focus on the road, watch traffic and listen to their communication radios - it is no surprise that bullying can go unnoticed on school buses.
The National Association for Pupil Transportation has studied bullying on school buses extensively. Their research revealed many school bus drivers feel unequipped to deal with this growing problem. It leaves kids and their parents feeling hopeless to stop it.
Marcus "Fox" Robinson, 7, was bullied to an extreme while aboard a school bus.
"When that kid hit me in the mouth and made me bleed I hurt so bad," Robinson recalled. "I could barely talk I was crying so hard."
Robinson is not the only child to face the brunt of bullies on school buses.
Across the country, cameras have given a glimpse into the rough rides thousands of kids experience to and from school. Even adults have been victims of the taunting and teasing.
According to the U. S Department of Education, 30 percent of middle school and high school kids are bullied, 10 percent of which occurs abroad school buses. Statistics show a third of that abuse goes unreported.
The National Association for Pupil Transportation says another problem is that bus drivers are typically not included in the creation of anti-bullying policies or trained on dealing with it.
"It's a big problem especially when you are in an enclosed space, and you can't walk away from someone," Hampton City Public Schools Transportation Director David Benware said.
Benware hires and trains bus drivers for Hampton City Public Schools.
Brenware told 10 On Your Side in the fight to combat bullying, bus drivers are limited to reassigning seats usually after the bullying has taken place.
Ultimately, drivers are paid to drive not discipline.
"Drivers are trained to observe and bring things to the attention of the school officials as soon as possible," Benware said. "If there is something seriously going on, they can also pull off the side of the road, get on the radio and call for help."
It is a policy that can make parents like Robinson's mom, Annette Yedlin, feel insecure about their child's safety on school buses.
"There have been a couple of times when he gets off the bus just screaming," Yedlin said. "The bus driver is oblivious to what is going on, because with everything going on, he can't watch it all."
Yedlin said she is considering pulling her son from using the school bus service alltogether.
"It's getting to the point where we are going to end up driving him back and forth to school, because it's getting so bad on the bus," Yedlin said.
School districts have measures in place to keep an eye on students.
In Hampton, like most school districts, buses are equipped with cameras.
"If there is a problem or if there is a fight, we have our code system that we use to communicate those problems quickly," Benware said. "We have the police monitor our radio frequencies as well. Sometimes police are on the way before we even call in for help."
These measures are helpful in stopping fights, but they don't necessarily address the harassment, name-calling and the bullying children like Robinson encounter daily.
"They like, push me around me, and call me names and stuff," Robinson said. "It makes me feel sad."
In Robinson's case, the assistant principal reviewed the bus surveillance videos and personally met with the children on the bus.
She also left a phone message with parents informing them of the incident.
The assistant principal eventually assigned seats on the bus and suspended kids who were violent from riding the bus.
School officials said parents and kids need to speak out about school bus bullying if they see it happen.
Administrators suggest keeping an open line of communication with your children.
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A Newport News school bus went into a ditch Tuesday morning.