How much experience do I need?

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By Rhett Morgan, from The article is titled “Catoosa teacher fired after driving 11 students on snack trip, with two in trunk,” and includes the unfortunate details of how a 10-year teacher named Cagle got fired.

“She piled 11 students ranging in age from 12 to 15 into a Honda Accord, placing two in the front seat, seven in the back seat and two 12-year-old girls in the trunk, Long (the attorney for the school district) said. The group traveled about one mile to a Wal-Mart, bought food items and returned to school, the attorney said.

Two students who were out of the classroom when the group left were left behind at the school, Long said.

Teachers are required to obtain signed parental-guardian permission before transporting children off campus, and “she acknowledged that she didn’t do so,” Long said of Cagle.

My favorite part of the article reads as follows:

“In the end, the board was concerned that parents, grandparents, guardians send their kids to school every day with an expectation that they will receive education benefit during every course that they attend and that … rules regarding get-permission-first will be honored,” Long said. “Also, no parent or grandparent or guardian should ever expect that any teacher, particularly not an experienced teacher, will take their children off campus in the trunk of a personal vehicle.”


Eduhonesty: I’d say that ten years qualifies as experienced. What if she had been teaching for only two years, though? At that point, could she put students in her trunk? What’s the cut-off here?

I have to admit this article left me feeling ambivalent. We all have a few stupid moments in our lives. I’ve had more than a few. Ten years of teaching should not be wiped out by one wacky morning. Still, the students-in-the-trunk move qualifies as a real contender for Stupid Moment of the Year. But maybe they do that kind of thing in small towns in Oklahoma. Many parents came forward to support this instructor. I don’t think I’d fire this woman if she’d been doing a good job teaching, as parents contend. I suspect a “No driving students anywhere ever” would work just fine.

P.S. I’d suggest a google search on “how much do school districts pay annually in attorney fees on average.” Many Americans might be astounded by the results. San Bernardino City Unified spent more than $1 million on outside legal counsel during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, and more than $4 million over three years, according to one report.