Being a teacher is hard enough inside the classroom. Releasing a hoard of unworldly students into the wild? That’s asking for trouble. These educators shared how bad it can be when “can we have class outside?” becomes a reality. From the deadly detours to the stand-offs with animals, sign a permission slip to enjoy these stories of field trips gone horrifically wrong.
1. From the Olympic Podium to the ER
We went skating, and one of the students fell, smacked her chin off the ice, and somehow got a skate blade to the face. She needed a bunch of stitches, and was able to stick her tongue through the hole in her face…
2. She’s Not the Only One In Need of Guidance
Asked my students to be respectful of other pedestrians while on the trip, because some people want to enjoy the nature center by themselves. One kid saw a woman with her service dog and tried to pull on it because “Mommy would let me have it.” We had to leave because of that. He ruined the entire trip for everyone.
3. Don’t Look in the Fun Bag…
I’m a bus driver for high school soccer teams sometimes. A kid pooped in a Doritos bag while most of the kids were relieving themselves at a rest stop. A couple of minutes later some poor sap stuck his hand in that bag to eat some chips and was awarded the name “poopy fingers” for the rest of high school.
4. Not That Kind of Teamwork
Kids were going to a conference for a leadership/service-oriented club. They got brought home early because a chaperone found a bunch of them hooking up in one of the rooms that had been pre-planned in a group chat that almost all of the kids on the trip were in. That was a freakshow.
5. Hard to Miss, Harder to Arrest
I went on a class trip to a science center as a chaperone. I was in charge of a group of eight boys. One of them goes missing; I ask the others where he went, and they don’t know either. He’s missing for about 10 minutes until a security guard from the center comes up to me with him. The guy asks, “Is he one of yours?” and tells this kid to open his backpack when I say yes.
Probably $200 worth of stolen stuff in there. He spent the rest of the trip right next to me.
6. Lost in the Sauce of Dramatics
I’m a teacher now, but the worst one is from when I was a student myself (same school). During a theater trip to Bergen, most of my classmates got hammered, one of them so much that she threw up all over the floor and seats in front of her (and this was a proper, old, fancy theatre). On her way out—nearly passed out drunk—she also threw up in the hall and in two flowerpots. Turned out she had taken some stomach meds, forgotten about them, and then went ballistic on a vodka bottle.
Afterward, we made her a t-shirt with a photo of her drunk at the theatre.
7. Old Enough to Be Late?
I am a teacher, but my anecdote comes from when I was a kid back in the mid-90s. We were visiting some museum in London and were traveling on the train and the tube with teachers. On the way back, some students didn’t get on the tube before the automatic doors shut, and the teacher in charge just yelled as loud as he could, “See you back at school lads.”
We just went home, and the teacher waited at the school later on. Sure enough, about forty minutes after everyone else got back, the remaining kids turned up. If that happened to me now as a teacher in 2019, I’d be fired. Probably out of a cannon into an abyss marked “RIP career.”
8. Reefer Madness Could Ruin Things For Everyone
I was the senior class advisor. We did our senior trip somewhere where we stayed overnight in a hotel. The school I taught at was not known for well-behaved children. First night rolls around. 1 am. Hotel security knocks on my door. “Sir, there is a strong smell of marijuana coming from one of the rooms. We’d appreciate it if you could address it.” Great.
I get dressed and go out into the hall. The whole corridor of the hotel smells awful, and it’s very strong at one particular door. I go knock on the door. Movement, but no answer. I knock again. No answer. This was the first overnight trip in our school’s history, and the chaperones are all freaking pissed. We KNEW we couldn’t trust them. Silly us. Meanwhile, the kids still aren’t answering.
Fast-forward 20 minutes of knocking—hotel security breaks down the door. The room smells like Lysol spray, and the three boys are pretending to be asleep. We haul them out of bed—2 am at this point—grab their things, and another chaperone loads them into their van and drives them the 2 hours home. Along the way, they each have to call their parents and explain why they need to be picked up at the school at 4 in the morning.
The principal decided not to let any of the three walk across the stage at graduation. The thing is, we searched bags and had the police bring in a dog before we loaded everything. These three boys, in their wisdom, hired one of their older brothers to meet them at the destination with the drugs and hand them off. The hotel was kind enough not to bill us for the damaged door, as our bill was already substantial.
All they had to do was not be knuckleheads for one weekend, and they couldn’t manage that. And that, folks, is why we can’t have nice things.
9. “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” Goes Too Far
This happened just the other week. We had left the school about five minutes before on the bus when a student got my attention and said, “Miss, someone hit a girl in the head with a bottle and she’s crying.” I think “here we go…” and head down the back to settle them down. I get there, students all looking on and crowding on, and sure enough, the girl is in tears and is holding her hand against her head. I ask, “Are you okay?” And she pulled her hand away from her head and it was gushing blood.
We turned the bus around and she ended up going to hospital. Long story short, head wounds bleed a lot, 12-year-olds make bad decisions, and everyone was okay in the end. Can’t say I felt overly prepared for that though!
10. With Guardian Angels Like These, Who Needs Devils?
On the kindergarten field trip, we had the parent of our most challenging student come along as a chaperone. Her group was her own son, and a very sweet, obedient girl. Let’s call him Jim and the girl Shaunda. Typically, we teachers set up “base camp” while the parents take the groups of students through the park. We do a scavenger hunt, and the parents bring us their cards for a stamp as they go through each section.
The first time the zoo employee brought us Jim, he said that the boy was in the monkey exhibit trying to climb over the fences. Luckily, he had on a school shirt, and Jim was brought right to us. We called his mother’s phone, and she didn’t answer. About 15 minutes later, the mom shows up and says “Jim, how did you get in front of us, we were walking together just a minute ago.” We teachers explained that in fact, Jim had been with us for a bit, and the zoo ranger had brought him over. No real response once from the mom. We asked her to turn on her phone.
They went off again. The second time they brought us Jim, he had gotten into the fountain. It had taken several employees to chase him down as he ran and giggled. Same drill, we called Mom. No answer. Jim was sopping wet with gross fountain water. He did not seem too concerned. The mom did not show up for 45 minutes. Again, she said, “Jim, how did you get in front of us, we were walking together just a minute ago.” This time I was watching Shaunda, the look on that little girl’s face said it all. Total amazement that an adult was lying.
They went off again to walk to the picnic area. Yes. The third time the zoo brought back little Jim, it was with a police officer. Apparently, the zoo was watching the cameras, and the minute the mom was out of sight, she let go of Jim and basically ditched him. The mom got a citation for failure to maintain responsibility for her child and a one-year ban from the zoo.
The police officer accompanied her and Jim back to the buses and waited with them until it was time to leave. They did not participate in the picnic. Shaunda had the best moral for the story: “No wonder he is so bad, his mama won’t even keep him safe when there is a tiger around.” He is now a very troubled fourth grader.
He doesn’t get to go on field trips without one on one support from a school staff member.
11. You’d Drop Some F-Bombs Too
I was a Daisy Scout chaperone with a bunch of fifth graders (including my daughter) on an overnight field trip to a zoo (to see nocturnal animals, etc). We were around 40 girls (& chaperones), finally beginning to fall asleep in sleeping bags on the floor of one of the exhibit rooms, when a HUGE rat scurries across the floor and over sleeping bags. I proceed to scream, “Oh FU**” at the top of my lungs.
The girls wake up and start chanting, “Ooooo, you said the f word!” I thought I was going to die of embarrassment! My daughter & her friends are in college now & still bring it up occasionally, “Remember when…” I definitely won’t win any “mom of the year” awards!
12. We’re Entitled to Creature Comforts
I’m an English teacher in Korea and field trips are different here. Usually, there are no additional chaperones. The teacher is responsible for all 25-ish students in their homeroom class during the trip. That means a field trip is often eight classes of 25 students (200 kids!) and a maximum of 10 chaperones if some office staff get taken along.
One of my first trips was to a large traditional market. It’s a popular place to go, and there are usually thousands of people there at all times. Our buses arrived, and we all piled off in the parking lot. The kids were told via megaphone, “Be back here in one hour. Go!” And all 200 of them scattered into the crowds and tents while most of the teachers got back onto the buses to have coffee.
Surprisingly, 99% of the kids were back on the buses when they were supposed to be. However, a good number had bought small hamsters, turtles, or goldfish. Two weeks later I couldn’t find a single kid whose spontaneous pet was still alive.
13. Way to Drop a Bombshell
A girl on a BETA club trip thought it would be funny to put “bomb on board” in the window of the bus. The interstate was shut down, the bus was pulled over, and a SWAT team raided the bus. The bomb squad was called in to sweep the bus even though the girl admitted it was a hoax. She didn’t go to jail, somehow. She was also a popular cheerleader and didn’t get any disciplinary action from the school.
14. Not Demonstrating Class
Not a teacher but a younger relative of mine ruined her middle school’s field trip. She didn’t want to be grouped with the “poor” kids, so she threw trash at them in front of the person who ran the place they visited. She was unrepentant and kept calling the group “greasers” for their supposed unkemptness. She was taken back to school, no refund, and had to write a letter of apology. She refused to do that and instead harassed them on Facebook.
She was expelled and there was no refund on the tuition. Her parents had a hard time getting her into another school. She was accepted at a public school, but that was another circus.
15. Dropping Out Before Registration
Group trip to take a tour of a college campus. We had a young man jump out of a bus window while it was going down the highway! His long-term girlfriend had broken up with him a few days before, and he later explained that he didn’t see the point of going on the college visit anymore because he didn’t want to go to the same college as her, or even apply to the same ones. Denied up and down that it was a suicide attempt.
His friends circled the wagons and supported his story, and the story/rumors died quickly. He got some gnarly road rash but avoided being hit by any cars. I always got the impression that it was, in fact, a suicide attempt. If he didn’t want to go on the tour, why go at all? Why board the bus? He could have stayed at school.
This was several years ago. He is fine!
16. Headfirst into Danger
Taught in London and took a whole year group to The Globe in London to see Hamlet. My group was lining up wonderfully near the Globe so we could do registers, but besides us, a group of French students on a school trip (about 15/16 years old) were messing about beneath the Millennium Bridge. One was climbing up a slanted support block and slipped, fell and smashed into the ground headfirst from about six feet up.
All my students (all girls) gasped in horror at the same time and I ran over, along with another teacher, to help. The injured student was convulsing at this point, and I had to grab his tongue and hold it so he wouldn’t bite the thing off. The other students were ranting in French, which I don’t speak AT ALL but thankfully the other teacher spoke a little, so told them to go find their teacher.
At this point, the convulsing kid had stopped so I put him in the recovery position and was about to call 9-1-1 when a St. Johns Ambulance cyclist went past (apparently a thing on the riverside in case of incident). My wonderful students flagged him down and he took over. The student regained consciousness soon after but I feel he must have at least had a nasty concussion.
17. Underprivileged, Undone, Under Pressure
When I was in the AmeriCorps, I was a tutor at a school where a popular seventh-grader drowned on the class’s end of the year field trip to a lake at a state park the summer before I started. There were no lifeguards on duty; he was in chest-deep water when he went under and never came up. His friends and the chaperones tried to find him, but by the time they did, it was too late.
This was an under-served school in a really rough neighborhood. According to the teachers, things were getting better at the school, but this really messed with the kids. It was a very challenging year for them.
18. From the School Bus to the Holding Cell
Not a teacher, but when my econ class went to NYC for a field trip, one of my classmates tried to buy weed off a guy in an alleyway. Turned out to be an undercover cop. We were the honors class. He was a cool kid. I was walking to school in freezing weather one day and he offered me a ride. Don’t remember what happened to him after that.
I know he didn’t graduate with us that year.
19. Thanksgiving Comes Early This School Year
Not a teacher, but in fourth grade a turkey flew through the windshield of the bus. We were driving through the middle of nowhere on our way to a farm or something, don’t remember what it was supposed to be because we just ended up going back to the school. Some teachers near the front were picking glass out of their forehead. I think the driver was mostly okay but still needed to get checked out.
I don’t think any of us kids were hurt at all. Maybe we were too short at that age for the glass to make its way over the seats enough to actually maim anyone? I have no idea. But yeah, a teacher kicked the dead bird off the bus, did a quick head count, fluttered over the bus driver, and then we just lined up against a wooden fence at the edge of someone’s property while waiting for another bus to come get us.
Lots of crazy stuff went down at my school throughout my entire 12 years, but I think this is the only thing that happened on a trip. Oh, besides a couple of guys popping some sort of pills while at a Rangers game at the end of the year in seventh grade. They started the next school year in what’s basically a pre-juvie kind of setting.
That was wild, mostly because I didn’t expect those particular guys to do that sort of thing, especially at that age.
20. Babies Watching Babies
I wasn’t a teacher, but I was a “junior counselor” at a summer day camp, which basically meant I was still a kid myself at the upper age limit for the camp (13) and I attended for free in exchange for helping the real counselors with the younger kids. Mostly we did nothing and had no real authority, but when it came time for the big summer trip to an amusement park suddenly me and another junior counselor were saddled with watching a group of eight kids for the day with no adult.
Everything went better than expected until the end of the day when we were trying to corral our group to leave. They didn’t want to go, so they jumped in line for this sight-seeing ride and got on before we could stop them. It was basically a slowly rotating observation room that went up a tall tower, stopped a while, then came back down.
It got stuck halfway back down while we were frantically trying to find an adult to let them know what happened. This was before cell phones were common, so I waited at the ride while my co-junior counselor went to find someone from our group. It kept us from leaving for an additional half hour to an hour while they got it unstuck.
The councilors got in trouble for letting two 13-year-olds escort a group alone, and I stopped going to the camp a week later because the other counselors started bullying me in retaliation.
21. Who Needs Cable When You Have Students?
Kid punched a dolphin. Petting tank at SeaWorld. Kid just hauled off and punched a dolphin. School was banned. Another time, all the chaperones went to the beer tasting at Busch Gardens. That got a few people in trouble. Another time we had a kid from Kenya with us. She was straight up out of Africa for only a few weeks. When it was time to leave Disney, she got on the first bus she saw and ended up at Pleasure Island (Disney Springs now).
Then there was the kid that destroyed TWO hotel rooms in Gainesville by flushing soap down the toilet. Another kid (Disney again) roughed up a chipmunk (it was Chip or Dale). Disney Security stopped our bus before we could leave and detained him. There is so much more.
22. Youth is a Perilous Time
As a teacher, I kept warning the children not to stand up on the bus because if the bus stopped suddenly, they would fly forward and smash their faces against a hard metal bar. One girl didn’t listen and learned the hard way that I was right.
As a student, on a high school camping trip, about 5-7 students were left behind at a national park while the rest of us went to eat pizza in a town several miles away. None of the staff realized they were missing until they showed up an hour later. But the most horrifying story happened in one of the towns I lived in.
Children from another town were coming in for a sporting event. Their bus was coming down a steep hill when the lady in a car going the opposite direction stopped and waved for a child to go ahead and cross the street. Neither the lady nor the child noticed the bus which didn’t have enough time. It hit and killed the child, with all of the children on board witnessing the death.
23. Keep an Eye on the Runaway Bride
At the school I went to, they took a previous class to New York City (from WA state) and one of the girls decided she was going to run off with a boy she met there. They had her under close watch all night, but the next day she tried to hop off the subway at a different stop from the group to go meet up with her newfound love. They managed to stop her, but that night had to fly her home for fear that she would escape.
She was 16.
24. One Field Trip and A Funeral
Heard this one from my language teacher colleague today. First night of school trip in France. Young teens are all staying in different homes. Duty mobile rings, it’s a girl staying with a family with parents and two teenage children. “Can someone get me? I really don’t think I should be here now.”
The father had dropped dead over dinner.
25. Adventures in Chaperoning
I had a field trip to a local forest preserve with my third-grade class. I had a boy with high functioning special needs on the trip who was also a flight risk. Full one to one aide for him. Well, it had been a crazy month of rain and storms leading up to the field trip, and the river that ran through the forest preserve was flooded. It was hot and muggy, so I was in a pair of Nikes, shorts and a T-shirt. We are looking at the river, but we aren’t allowed to go on the bridge as water is touching the bottom of the walkway.
Now, I’ve been to this particular forest preserve hundreds of times since I was a kid. I know all the trails and paths, where poison ivy and oak tend to grow, and where the best parts to see some native wildlife are. Well, my flight risk keeps talking about seeing the river, starting to get upset that he can’t go on the bridge to get close.
In my 27 years of visiting this forest preserve, I have never seen white caps on this river. This time, there were visual rapids. Lo and behold, the flight risk darts down the road back towards where the bus was. His pera at the time isn’t exactly physically fit, so I told her to stay with my class with the parent chaperones, and I take off after him.
He ducks into the woods, and I’m probably 250 feet away. He’s wearing camouflage, because it’s time to go to the woods! “My dad always wears camo in the woods!” So, as we get into the denser parts of the forest, I’m relying a lot on sound to keep after him. Eventually, we break back towards the main road, and I’m about 100 feet behind him at this point.
Well, goes across the main road and down the riverbank, right towards the rapids. Worst case scenario. I’m a strong swimmer, but I know that flood waters are nothing to mess with. I know this kid has no chance if he gets in the water—he’ll get caught on something and drown. As I get across the road and start sliding down the bank as fast as I can, I see him sitting, taking off his socks and shoes. Thank god for swimming etiquette. I quickly grab onto him, throw him over my shoulders, grab his shoes and walk him back up the steep and slippery bank.
He gets put onto the bus with his aide now locking him into the seat while I’m on the phone with the principal. He says he’s on his way to drive him back to school. He starts complaining that he’s got a rash. He’s gone through tons of poison ivy and oak. Luckily, I don’t have a reaction to it. So, in a way, he got a lesson for what he did.
26. An Estimate is Good Enough for a Roll Call
Went to a new school camp which featured a night walk. We got sent out with no map onto a very poorly marked trail. A large gap opened up and one teacher wound up with ~55 of the students panicking around her while the three other adults had about 15 students with them. Eventually, we made it back to camp with the right number of kids. Not sure if they were all the same ones though…
27. Take My Breath Away
I had a child have a massive asthma attack after a visit to a farm and a cotton gin. I ended up giving her mouth to mouth on the side of the road and praying for an ambulance. She was fine after a couple breathing treatments and some steroids, thank goodness. This was before cell phones were common and we had to use the call box on the side of the highway. 10/10 would not repeat!
28. One of the Girls
Once took the model UN club out on a trip. All girls for some reason. The other teacher took the girls in while I waited outside for the stragglers. When I came into the building, I see the whole group walk in a door, so I run to catch up with them. Turns out that door was the entrance to the girl’s bathroom. I’m a guy, by the way.
Managed to stop myself about a foot in when I realized where I was headed and avoided a major debacle. LOL.
29. Still as the Oceans
My sister went to New York for a field trip and the hotel told them not to drink the water. They found out a woman had drowned herself in the water tank. But apparently, it was okay for them to bathe in it?? My sister said the kids were washing themselves and going, “Omg, this is dead woman water!!!!”
30. So Much for the City of Love
Took about 40 kids to Europe this year. We had a few couples. Most not super obvious, but we had to keep an eye on one particular pair. My worst fear was that they would try to have sex on the plane. Crisis averted on the way home because they broke up while on the Eiffel Tower. Not the day we went. Not while we walked to it. Not during the pictures. Nope. These kids were climbing down the tower and got into a fight that ended the relationship.
Maybe not the worst thing, but I was relieved/amused at the irony. We, of course, made sure they were both okay. They seemed to handle it well.
31. Just Keep Swimming
I work with 18- to 21-year-old students who have disabilities. We took the students on our annual canoe trip at the end of the year. It’s typically like a two-hour canoe ride through a chain of lake, and this particular year didn’t go so well. One of the students was aggressively yelling at other students to “paddle harder.”
Another student got annoyed and turned around and started beating this student with his paddle. We had to get all the canoes (there were probably seven of them) to shore to get these two students out because they were bludgeoning one another!
32. She Puts Too Much Faith in Thomas the Tank Engine
Our bus full of first graders was approaching train tracks as the lights flashed, and the gate started to lower. Our driver decided not to stop at the tracks (like any bus should by law) and thought maybe she could beat the lowering arms? She realized she couldn’t and braked ON THE TRACK (the first of two).
The gate arms slammed onto our bus, and a man stopped at a red light got out of his car to lift it off my side of the bus. I panicked from the front seat as the incoming train whistled, and the parent chaperones and I screamed at her to MOVE BACK. She kept saying “I can’t go in reverse.” She had no panic in her voice at all.
Thankfully, the train came on the second track. I can’t remember if she actually backed up or not; I was absolutely traumatized and spent the beginning of the trip on the phone with transportation. They sent us another driver for the way home, and our original driver sat awkwardly in the front seat. We take the same trip every year, and every year I cringe when we cross the tracks.
33. Never Too Old for a Time-Out
Several years ago, my school decided to book a roller-skating rink for a couple of hours for an end-of-year trip. It was closed to the public. One student was both academically and behaviorally ineligible to go on the trip. Mom had other plans. She kept him home and simply drove him to the rink. After the field trip kids went inside, she walked her kid over and attempted to buy a ticket. The ticket window wasn’t even open, so she just brought him in.
A teacher saw this and notified a staff member that the kid wasn’t supposed to be there. The 20-something manager told mom to take her kid and leave. Mom. Lost. Her. Mind. She tried to slap the manager, then her kid’s homeroom teacher. Lots of F-bombs and “I’ll burn this dump to the ground” ensued. Police were contacted and her son had the pleasant experience of watching his mom get cuffed and stuffed in front of the entire seventh grade.
34. I Guess You Can Put a Price on Grief
I’m going to keep it light on specifics for obvious reasons. We have a week each year when most of the school, especially the older kids, go off around the country and do outdoor adventure stuff like camping and hiking, seeing places they don’t usually go to etc. Colleagues took a bunch of ninth graders on a hike in a forested area.
They were planning to go to a particular location, but it had been too wet recently, so they didn’t go, and the guide told them there were some good natural pools to swim in not very far away, so they went there instead. Had to hike a couple of hours to get there. The pool they went to had a little waterfall feeding into it, maybe three or four meters, so it was all pretty cool, and they stopped there for a swim and a break.
Kids were jumping in from above and swimming around, having lunch on the side of the pool and that kind of stuff. Some of the boys decided to try to go behind the waterfall, but the force of the water was too strong and they got sucked under. Some of them were struggling to get away from the undertow or whatever you call it.
Their friends were dragging them, trying to reach them with branches and other stuff. My friend who was one of the teachers jumped in and tried to drag the boys out. One of the kids was holding on to him while they tried to swim free, but he couldn’t hang on. Guess the kid ran out of strength or something. Two boys drowned.
They couldn’t find their bodies until the next day because it turned out the force of the water pushed them down beneath the waterfall, and they got hooked under some kind of ledge. Police divers came along and searched all night. Found them the next day. It obviously took a long time to get help as they were up in the hills and there were no roads to get there and so on.
Of course, this was devastating for everyone, especially the staff and students on the trip. One of the boys was an only son whose family had brought him to this particular country for an education. The grandfather had apparently advised against it as he didn’t think it was a good idea. The other boy was the eldest son of a very influential regional family. It turned out that his mum hadn’t given permission for him to go swimming on the trip.
Of course, there are all kinds of forms, permissions, and agreements that the parents have to sign. One of the teachers saw that this boy’s form hadn’t been signed and asked the kid if his mum would be ok with him swimming, and of course, the kid said yes. The local guide, who had suggested going to the pools in the first place and who assured them it was fine, denied any responsibility and put it all on the teachers.
In this country, if you’ve got the money and connections, you write your own laws. The teachers were blacklisted by immigration and couldn’t leave the country. One of them had a bit of a nervous breakdown and was signed off for the rest of the year. The others were kept off school to avoid inflaming tensions. The ninth graders and staff were all given counseling as much as possible, but factions started to emerge where some kids blamed the teachers, especially specific ones.
We were having meetings where everyone was hearing lots of different stories from different people and the school board was trying to keep a lid on it, telling us the official line but glossing over some of the incriminating stuff. Lots of pressure to stick to the party line and basically not say anything to anyone because local reporters were hanging around, trying to get incriminating stuff and pitting one side against the other.
One of the teachers snuck out of the country in the next vacation time. We’re not sure if some strings were pulled or if it was just incompetence, but it caused a bit of a scandal and made the national news. Of course, the powerful family of the dead boy went crazy and tried even harder to make life difficult for the other teachers.
After a lengthy legal process which lasted over a year in which another teacher was stopped at the airport twice before managing to escape by leaving from a different part of the country, the principal was “advised” to go on the basis of “the buck stops here.” The teachers who escaped were basically free but completely traumatized. One teacher was made the scapegoat and was fired and banned from teaching. The school was sued for, coincidentally, the exact, specific, seven-figure sum that it had in its financial reserve.
I left at the end of the year as the atmosphere had become so poisoned and it was clear, if it hadn’t been before, that our rights and protections would go in an instant if we crossed the wrong person.
35. Up, Up, and Away
Former assistant teacher here, we were on a sixth-grade field trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Cool place. So, at the time one of the attractions was a sort of centripetal force machine that you can sit in and get swung around (poor explanation but imagine the Gravitron only smaller and faster with seats and no walls. I Googled it but can’t find the ride, guessing it was swapped out for something else).
Well, one dumb kid thought it’d be funny to show off and see what happens when you undo your seat belt while riding. Naturally, he got flung out of the machine at roughly half the speed of sound and broke his fall with nothing but his face. Glasses busted, massive concussion, totally wrecked. There was a whole investigation, and the teacher in charge of that kid’s group had to actually defend himself from accusations that he could’ve somehow stopped that level of stupidity.
Sadly, I didn’t witness it, but I did hear the impact from one room over. Pretty interesting day.
36. Not the Best Place for an Anatomy Lesson
I took three classes of sixth graders (age 11-12) to visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We’d come from about an hour and a half away—the kids & other teachers on buses, but since I was hugely pregnant, I was allowed to drive my own car. It had been raining, but I arrived a bit ahead of the bus, so when the kids got off, I was there to lead them to the museum.
As I began walking towards the kids getting off the buses, I noticed a lot of papers on the sidewalk…and suddenly realized that they were an assortment of extremely dirty and explicit pictures. I stopped to try to gather them up before the kids got an unexpected and completely inappropriate sex ed lesson. We’d already had a BIG TALK about being MATURE when viewing classical art (e.g. nude statues, omg) but we were not prepared for the most lurid ads LA had to offer.
Unfortunately. the rain had plastered the papers to the sidewalk, and the sight of the very pregnant teacher scrambling on hands and knees on Wilshire Blvd. sent the chaperones and teachers rushing to my aid…with 100 kids right after them, no matter how urgently I tried to wave them back.
37. False Alarm, People
It happened right before we would enter the bus. My students had been waiting for a few minutes and some guys were messing around. I warned them to act normal but left them out of my sight for 1 minute to grab something from my postbox. In that time, they pressed the fire alarm, and the whole school (1,650 students) had to be evacuated to the carpark where the bus also waited.
It was not my favorite morning…
38. Poobody’s Nerfect
At an apple orchard with young preschoolers. One kid, who was always an issue in some way or another, pooped his pants. Fully. And didn’t say anything. I just happened to pass him and smelled it. There were no restrooms, just a porta-potty. Had to stand him on the edge and try and get as much as the flattened turd out of his pants because there was no way he was going to sit in poop-filled pants for the 30-minute drive back.
I was gagging and the kid was doing everything but following my directions. At one point I thought he was going to fall into the hole. It was awful.
39. Orange You Going to Apologize for Attempted Murder?
One time on a trip to the movies in eighth grade, one of the chaperones was my English teacher, who was deathly allergic to citrus (I think we know where this is going). On the bus ride back to school, a kid takes an orange, peels it and throws it at her, HARD. Hard enough to the point where orange juice got all over her shirt.
Not sure if it was revenge related or just being a jerk. Anyway, she immediately starts having an allergic reaction, and we have to pull over on the side of the highway and wait for an ambulance. We go back to school and the day is over. The school sends out an email basically saying, “Please don’t attempt to kill your teachers with allergic reactions” and that she will be fine.
Although, we had a substitute for four days and the kid got expelled.
40. Someone Is a Big Fan of Happy Feet
Teacher here. Not my own story, but one I was told years ago by a fellow teacher. An autistic support class was on a field trip to the Camden Aquarium (NJ). So, they go and are back in the classroom. The teacher notices one child’s book bag is soggy and smelly. She opens it only to literally find a baby penguin. Yup, the child had walked away from the group, unsupervised, and had taken the penguin and stuffed the poor guy in his backpack.
Apparently, it was an incredibly busy day at the aquarium, and nobody saw the theft. Of course, the poor bird was promptly returned.
41. Get Your Hands Off Me, You Dirty Apes!
Fifth-grade field trip to a zoo. During a tour of the primate exhibits, a notoriously ill-behaved student hurls a stick down into the gorilla habitat and it lands near an adult gorilla. Without hesitation, the now angry gorilla arms himself with the same stick and sends it back like a tomahawk to the boy with terrifying velocity and wildly impressive precision. The stick shatters around the boy’s face and he goes down. Commotion ensues.
More gorillas make an appearance and begin to scream at the group of horrified children. Zoo staff start piling in out of the woodwork to see what’s going on. The orangutans on the other side of the trail have now got wind of the situation and have begun mobilizing to assist their gorilla comrades. It’s a war on two fronts now.
Gorilla and orangutans launch volleys of feces and students scatter. Throughout the entire exhibit, all manner of primates begins their intimidating chatter and howling. An army of zoo staff has swarmed the primate exhibits and manages to stop War For The Planet Of The Apes.
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