SCHENECTADY -- The signs in the window pleading for help must have seemed ominous to passing drivers, who called city police to report a driver holding kids on a bus against their will.
But what the police and the bus company found Thursday was a group of rowdy 8-year-olds hassling their driver on the last day of school.
Jim Lomanto, operations manager for Brown Transportation, blamed the incident on an excess of youthful energy.
"The kids were very excited about summer vacation, probably," Lomanto said. "A little bit too much sugar, too."
The adults who responded said the Yates Magnet Elementary School students had been yelling out the bus windows at pedestrians, saying they were afraid and that the driver wouldn't stop the bus, and holding up the signs. The youngsters also climbed over the seats, ran off the bus at the wrong stops and threw papers at the driver and his monitor, city police Sgt. Eric Clifford said.
The manager said the driver, a full-time employee who was not on his regular route, stopped the bus and called for help from his employer and city police.
"The bus driver stopped once he determined that the kids were unruly and couldn't be controlled," Clifford said. By the time police arrived, the situation was under control, and Clifford said it was handled as a "non-police" matter.
Lomanto said his driver followed the standard procedure for disobedient kids.
"With children on the bus who were out of control, climbing over the seats and such, that's not a safe operation," Lomanto said.