By Linda Looney-Bond
A Clayton County bus driver was cited for disorderly conduct and leaving a motor vehicle unattended, after she reportedly left about 20 students alone on an idling school bus for about 20 minutes, according to police.
The incident involved school bus driver, Sheira Boyce, 47, and occurred Wednesday, outside the Perry Learning Center located at 137 Spring St., in Jonesboro, according to a Jonesboro Police incident report.
"She left that bus unattended, with the children on there - with the bus running. That's a scary combination," said Maj. Tim Jessup, interim chief of police for the Jonesboro Police Department.
Off-duty Jonesboro Police Officer Mark Carpenter spotted the bus while he was working part time as a patrol officer for the learning center, according to Jessup.
"I observed a bus full of kids," Carpenter said in the police report. "Approximately ten minutes went by and the bus did not move ... the bus was running the whole time ... and parked on a hill."
Carpenter said he got on the bus to find out whether everything was OK. He then called the learning center's director, Wayne Rich.
"We waited another ten minutes, and I used the bus radio and contacted the bus garage, notifying them that the bus was abandoned," Carpenter said in the report.
According to the police report, Boyce eventually came out of the school with a female juvenile.
"The bus driver had [an] attitude and did not want to speak to myself and Mr. Rich. Mr. Rich tried to explain to the bus driver that she was in violation of school policy ... and that she was not supposed to enter the school and go to a classroom to discipline children.
"The bus driver said 'if you are done I am leaving,'" Carpenter said in the report.
Carpenter said he then asked for Boyce's license, and wrote a citation for the charge of unattended motor vehicle. He said Boyce refused to sign to ticket.
"I set the ticket book down and told her to put her hands behind her back. The bus driver snatched her hands away ... and spun away from me," Carpenter said in the report. He said he eventually placed Boyce in his patrol car. He said in the report that Boyce said she acted as she did because she thought he was "just a security guard."
Carpenter said, at the request of the learning center director, he released Boyce "on a copy of the charges."
Jessup said he did not know the age range of the students who were on the bus.
The Perry Learning Center houses several programs, including the Elite Scholars Academy Charter School, which middle school students attend. The center also houses a career center, an adult education program, and the Clayton County school system's open campus high school.
Clayton County Schools Spokesperson Charles White could not be reached for comment Friday regarding Boyce's employment status.
Boyce is scheduled to appear in court for the citation Nov. 5, at the Jonesboro Police Department, located at 170 South Main St., in Jonesboro, according to Jessup.
- Staff writer Curt Yeomans contributed to this article.