Middle School Teacher Understandably Fired for Putting Kids in Car Trunk


She meant well, but man oh man is stuffing 11 tweens in your Honda Accord by any means necessary an incredibly dumb thing to do.

Back in October, Heather Cagle, a teacher and cheerleading coach at Wells Middle School in Catoosa, Oklahoma, (which is the most Oklahoma-y sounding place I’ve ever heard) decided to treat her yearbook class students by taking them with her to a Walmart adjacent to the school building (the two share a parking lot) to get some Goldfish. The cracker, not the animal.

So she opted to cram 11 middle school kids in her 4-door Honda Accord because judgement: who needs it! And because kids can also be dumb and will pretty much do anything upon hearing the word “snack” (I would personally cram myself into a car with 11 middle schoolers to get my hands on some sweet sweet Goldfish, tbh) they piled themselves in (obviously the kids are nowhere to blame in this situation). Two sat in the passenger seat up front, seven crammed themselves in the back, lying on the floorboard. And two kids were locked in the trunk. No one was injured. Still a terrible idea.

After the guardian of one of the 11 kids complained to the school, Cagle admitted she took the kids on the unauthorized snack run and was suspended with pay on October 23. Earlier this week, the Catoosa school board members voted to fire her. Via KJRH:

Cagle cried as she told board members “it was a terrible mistake. I didn’t want to hurt anyone. I just wanted to do something nice.”

I totally get that stuffing kids into a car would have been totally silly and fun for the kids and that they were probably laughing and having a blast the entire time. I LOVED being stowed in the car trunk as a kid (is there a good way to put that? I mean, like, for fun and not while the car was moving. I also liked hiding in laundry baskets? Ugh forget it.)

Cagle’s attorney Richard O’Carroll believes they were all just having fun and no one was in any inherent danger. He said Cagle only violated a seat belt law and pointed out her exemplary school record since 2005.
The attorney representing Catoosa Public Schools called the snack run “mental abuse.” She claims Cagle told students to keep it “hush hush” and points out not having school administrators or parents’ permission is a violation.

The lawyers agreed that while no one forced the kids into the car, that doesn’t really matter because they were about 12 years old and also Goldfish. No matter how you frame it, even if she was going out of her way to do something nice for the kids, it’s still a remarkably dumb thing to do.

Image via KJRH.

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