A 14-year-old student in Cumberland City, Tenn., was charged on March 2 with shooting and killing his bus driver, Joyce Gregory, when she stopped to pick him up on the way to school that day.
According to law-enforcement authorities, the boy shot the woman multiple times with a .45-caliber handgun, then fled into the woods. Another student took control of the steering wheel, but the bus rolled down a hill and crashed into a utility pole. None of the 24 students on the bus, ranging in age from 5 to 17, was injured.
The 9th grader at Stewart County High School was charged with first-degree murder in juvenile court and was undergoing a mental evaluation at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in Nashville last week.
The incident happened one day after Ms. Gregory reported the boy as one of the students she had caught using smokeless tobacco on her bus, but officials are uncertain if that was a motive. The student did not appear to have any previous behavioral problems in school.
“People described him as a normal 9th grade boy,” said Jennifer Johnson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in Nashville, an independent state agency.
A version of this article appeared in the March 09, 2005 edition of Education Week