Teacher Gets Fired For Packing 11 Kids into Her Accord

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Clown Car Collision

Here’s the worst use of a Honda Accord you’re going to read about today. A teacher took 11 students for a snack run in one – but thankfully got fired for her stupidity.

The Honda Accord, on a good day, can hold 5 people safely. As in there are seat belts for five. As in, if you’re transporting 12-year-old school kids, each should ideally have a seat belt.

But none of that made a difference to Heather Cagle, a math teacher, yearbook advisor and cheerleading coach employed at R.J. Wells Middle School in Catoosa, Okla. Nope, she piled 11 kids in and herself behind the wheel.

So, how does one cram 11 middle school kids into an Accord? Apparently, according to the NY Daily News, two 12-year-old girls made the journey locked in the car’s trunk while seven more created a human pyramid in the back seat. (After all, Cagle was the cheerleading coach.)

Heather Cagle 720pIn her teary defense, Cagle told the school board, which promptly fired her on a 4-1 vote, “Obviously it was a terrible mistake and I don’t know what I was thinking.” She was canned not so much for her automotive stupidity but for taking the kids off school grounds without parental or administration permission.

Here’s what her attorney had to say. “Good teachers will let students do things like this to let students let off steam,” Cagle’s attorney Richard Carroll said. “It was such a cowardly decision (by the school).” We’ll take cowardly over stupid any day.

The worst part? The Wal-Mart she was going to was a quarter-mile away. Maybe if the kids had trekked 440 yards for their Goldfish crackers, Cagle would still have her job. But piling them into your Accord is one of those rare instances when we would advocate actually parking your car. A little walk wouldn’t have killed them but the two kids in the trunk could have died in a rear-end collision.

Clown Car aftermathBy the way, thanks to the beauty of the Internet, when you click on the NY Daily News story, a Honda ad runs with the accompanying video. Fortunately the ad doesn’t proclaim the Accord’s roominess and cargo space.


Keith Griffin

Keith Griffin

Keith Griffin is an automotive columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal and CarGurus.com, as well as a reviewer for the Boston Globe, and - most importantly - dad to two great girls.