Teacher Fired After She Makes a Snack Run With 11 Students -- 2 in Her Trunk

A teacher at an Oklahoma middle school has been fired after administrators say she made a potentially dangerous decision to drive to Walmart for snacks with 11 of her students in her small car -- and let two of them sit in her trunk. Heather Cagle, who has been a math teacher, yearbook advisor, and cheerleading coach at R.J. Wells Middle School in Catoosa for the last 10 years -- which kind of makes this even more shocking because she should totally know better -- was suspended two days after the incident. She has since lost her job over what she claims was a "terrible mistake."


Cagle says she wanted to "do something nice" for the members of her yearbook staff and had only meant to reward them for their hard work by purchasing Goldfish crackers for them at Walmart. But instead of buying them on her own time and surprising her kids the following day, a surveillance video reportedly shows all of the students trying to cram themselves into her Honda Accord.

It took five minutes for them to barely fit -- with seven of them creating a human pyramid in her backseat and two 12-year-old girls locking themselves in the car's trunk.

How didn't she, at that point, realize this was a terrible idea and that she was risking the lives of her students over what sounded like an impulsive desire? I'm sure she was caught up in the moment and that they were all having a lot of fun and a few laughs, but especially as a veteran teacher, she should also have known that educators aren't allowed to take their students off campus without parental approval. And, even with approval, unless the child can wear a seat belt, he shouldn't be a passenger in your car.

As bad a choice as I think this teacher made, she had the support of about 50 people who backed her at the school board hearing. Still, the board voted 4-1 to dismiss her.

We don't know anything about Cagle's performance as a teacher, but even if she was the best educator in the world, the board had to follow policy and dole out this consequence. That was the only fair thing to do in this case -- both for the students they are obligated to protect and their parents.

Do you think this teacher deserved to lose her job over this incident?


Image via Catoosa Public Schools

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