‘Exceptional’ Teacher Fired For Cramming 11 Students In Her Honda Is Just Exceptionally Stupid

catoosa oklahoma teacher heather cagle fired for unauthorized off campus tripCatoosa, Oklahoma teacher Heather Cagle is going to be spending this Christmas among the ranks of the recently unemployed. Normally, I am someone who stands in support of teachers. Normally, however, the strange school stories hitting the news don’t feature a teacher throwing caution and common sense to the wind by cramming 11 students into her car before leaving campus on a secret, unauthorized trip. (In case you were wondering, her car is a Honda Accord, not a Duggar-van.) What the hell was this woman thinking?

Raw Story reports that on October 21, without getting parental permission, or exercising even a molecule of common sense, Cagle and nearly a dozen of her middle school students from her Yearbook class left the school on their little clown-car jaunt. MIDDLE SCHOOLERS. And what was the object of their off-campus quest? It would have to be something really important, right, to justify cramming two students in the trunk and having a couple of others lie flat on the floor? Snacks. It was a trip for snacks to the local Wal-Mart.

Cagle has been suspended with pay since the incident, which was captured on a parking lot security camera and which a parent quite rightfully filed a police report over. “I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just wanted to do something nice,” said Cagle during her testimony to the school board panel that voted to terminate her employment. You know what I think would have been nice? Not endangering the lives of 11 children for a couple of bags of Goldfish crackers.

Although Cagle did admit that just maybe she had done something wrong by piling 11 students into a car with only five seat belts, her attorney, Richard O’Carroll said that she had ‘only’ violated seat belt law, not really endangered students, and that the board’s decision to fire Cagle was ‘cowardly’. That’s funny, because my definition of cowardly includes telling a bunch of 12-year-olds to keep an illicit off-campus trip “hush hush” (which is exactly what Cagle did – suggesting to me that perhaps she knew at the time that what she was doing wasn’t exactly Teacher of the Year material). Also, can you imagine how deeply in the shit that district would be from the parents of affected children the next time Cagle made a gold-star decision like this one? I think not.

O’Carroll also called Cagle an ‘exceptional’ teacher, and since one definition of that word is ‘unusual’, I concede that point. This was indeed an unusually dumb thing to do. What Cagle will be up to next isn’t clear, but local news station KJRH, which covered the story, also noted:

O’Carroll fears this will leave Cagle with a big red mark on her record, making it difficult to acquire any future teaching jobs.

No kidding? It’s almost like a history of violating parent trust and putting kids in an unsafe situation should make it harder for you to work in education. Truly a shocking concept.

(Image: KJRH)

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