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Shippensburg Area School District bus driver charged after leaving sleeping child alone on bus

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa.–A  bus driver for the Shippensburg Area School District is facing charges after leaving a small child unattended on a school van after he fell asleep on December 21, according to court documents.

Penny Kirby, 37, of Shippensburg, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

According to police, a student fell asleep on the school van while being transported from his home to Nancy Grayson Elementary School on the morning of December 21.

The child later awoke to find himself alone on the school van– which was parked outside Kirby’s home, police said. The boy walked off the bus and into the yard where a neighbor heard his cries for help, according to the criminal complaint. The neighbor called police and cared for the boy until they arrived.

Investigators interviewed Kirby who explained she had been working for BOYO Transportation since October 2016, and is currently a substitute driver on a special needs route, according to court documents.

Kirby told police that she dropped the children off at the elementary school around 8:45 a.m., where she met an aid who got the children off the bus. She explained the aid is not permitted to get in the van and the driver is not permitted to exit the van. Kirby said she thought she saw the boy getting off the bus. While driving back to her home, she told police she did not see any kids in the van and locked it upon returning home.

Kirby told police she  went into her house, but returned to the school van after realizing she forgot her sweater. After retrieving her sweater–she went back into her home.  Kirby explained there is a policy to check the bus, and that she looked but did not see the child, court documents state.

Chester Mummau, Superintendent with Shippensburg Area School District released this statement in response to the incident:

“A 3rd grade student fell asleep in a van while being transported to Nancy Grayson Elementary School on the morning of 12/21/16.  Though the driver said she checked the van upon parking it at her house in the Shippensburg Borough, she missed the sleeping student.

 

At approximately 10:50 AM the student awoke, left the van, and a nearby neighbor assisted him by calling the police.  The police contacted the transportation contractor, Boyo Transportation, who responded and then transported the student to school where the school Principal contacted the parent.

 

The driver was terminated by Boyo Transportation on December 21, 2016, for failing to follow their policy of checking the vehicle properly when parking it. 

 

It was an unfortunate incident and we are grateful for the neighbor who assisted the child in his time of need.”