COLUMBIA, S.C. — After a Richland Two school bus was hijacked by a Fort Jackson trainee Thursday, the bus driver is being praised for how he handled the situation.
Police say he stayed calm and kept the children safe thanks to safety training all school personnel receive.
"Training does pay off and that’s why we do it," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said in a press conference after the incident.
He continued to say that their training thankfully played out well Thursday morning. No one was hurt in the incident and the suspect is in custody.
"From the response from the school bus driver, to the parents, to the kids, to the school district, to law enforcement, everything went in place this morning like we’ve been training to do," said Lott.
Richland Two wrote in a statement that all school bus drivers in the district are required to take a safety training course. They said the bus driver’s response to the hijacking exemplified what they’re supposed to do.
"We have practiced for crises and that practice came into play where the lines of communication, and the cooperation, and the protocols were in place to have this be corrected very quickly," School Board Chair James Manning told reporters.
Safety training for school personnel is required by the State Department of Education for every school and is conducted by SLED or local law enforcement.
Lott said the driver did the right thing by staying calm and listening to the armed hijacker when he came on board at the bus stop.
"He didn’t overreact, he didn’t get excited, he kept his cool enough that kept the situation calm and his main concern was the safety of those kids and he did his job," Lott said.
The Department of Education told News19 school personnel, including bus drivers, must do active shooter and intruder trainings twice a year.