Middle school teacher and varsity cheer coach Heather Cagle was fired Wednesday night in a rather bizarre controversy. Cagle was fired after she admitted that she drove 11 yearbook students to Walmart for a snack, including two put into a locked trunk of her Honda Accord.
It turns out the the school and Target have connecting parking lots so it does not appear that she went on the road. However, a camera shows the group taking five minutes to find a way to fit in the car including seven in the back with some lying on the floorboard and two in the trunk. It was all voluntary but someone told a parent who complained to the school. The school attorney called the action “mental abuse” while her lawyer insisted that she only violated the seat belt law. I was not sure that the latter defense was entirely accurate. However, it does appear that the only restriction is that there must be seat belts for all occupants in a vehicle.
Students and teachers rallied in support of Cagle who admitted that she had made a “terrible mistake” but that did not spare her from getting the boot with a 4-1 vote for termination. These were 12-year old children and the board clearly viewed her was grossly negligent in facilitating such trip. It is a shame because she appears to be a popular and successful teacher who probably viewed this as harmless fun. She was after all basically driving around a parking lot. However, there truly could have been a horrific accident if someone hit the car. With even elves showing up drunk at stores like Target, there is a real risk to the children.