Field trips are popular for students but can cause crazy headaches for teachers, like when kids fall through ice and break their faces, or get busted having orgies in hotels rooms at leadership conferences.
irishureyano asked teachers of Reddit: What was the worst thing that has happened on a school trip?
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
15. No one needs extra holes in their face.
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.
That's just her mouth,
Whoa, back up the truck with your medical mumbo jumbo, doc. Her what now?
14. Mommy lets you steal people's animals?
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 and he ruined the entire trip for everyone.
"Don't care how, I want it NOW!"
13. Middle schoolers.
My boyfriend was a teacher and his students went on the annual DC trip. It was like two kids to each hotel room or something and there was two 14yr old boys that shared a room. One of the boys rubbed one out into a pillow... and then hit the other kid in the face with it
Very similar story.
DC trip. A kid dropped a deuce in the bathtub and came on the window. Yes. The same kid.
Less of a story and more of a fact. Gotta love 8th graders.
12. Gravity has no mercy.
Former assistant teacher here, we were on a 6th 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 did hear the impact from one room over. Pretty interesting day.
"Your honor, I could've stopped him, but then you'd be trying me for breaking the laws of physics."
11. High school was never this fun.
Kids were going to a conference for a leadership/service oriented club. They got brought home early because a chaperone found an orgy 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 sh*tstorm.
Imagine being the one kid not invited.
I never heard of any orgies in high school. Was I the one that wasn't invited?
10. Left behind.
I was a new teacher when the whole grade went on a field trip during the first week of school.
In fact, I was so new that nobody - not even my colleagues - noticed that I wasn't on the bus. So it left without me.
(Fortunately, the destination was only about 15 minutes away, so it wasn't a big deal for me to jump in my car and follow the bus there.)
Probably could've went for coffee and said you were there the whole time
Could have just not gone and said nobody noticed you were there.
9. Close enough.
As a student I was left behind at a hutterite colony. I went to use the outhouse and the bus left.
They should have done a headcount!
"Final count is within +-10% of the initial one. Close enough!"
8. He just really loves science.
I went on a class trip as chaperone to a science center. I was in charge of a group of 8 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.
Did he rob the gift shop or something?
Sure did. His look of terror was kind of hilarious, to be honest
EDIT: From what I can remember, he had at least one light-up desk globe, a couple of chemistry kits and a Hoberman Sphere. It really looked like he didn't care what he stole, he just grabbed whatever.
7. Yeah, can't do that.
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 travelling 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."
And we just went home and the teacher waited at the school later on and 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.
Unrelated to the question but related to this anecdote. Back in 2009, I went to Obama's inauguration with my parents, friend at the time, and Business Law elective teacher. The teacher was this great, excitable guy I'm still pretty close to--absolutely one of my favorite high school teachers.
Anyway, my dad and my friend got off the metro at a stop that was about three mishandlings away from a human crush, and my mom and my teacher and I got whisked off to god knows where a few stops down. We had brought walkie talkies with us and managed to find each other again after a little while, but that was a crazy fun day.
6. Poor kid.
In 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, obident 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 we're 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 responseonce 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 we're 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 1 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 to 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 4th grader. He doesn't get to go on field trips without 1 on 1 support from a school staff member.
5. It's art, sort of.
I took three classes of 6th 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 pornographic 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 porn 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 Wiltshire 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.
4. Kids and pets don't mix.
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 25ish students in their homeroom class during the trip. That means a field trip is often 8 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.
What happened with the 1% of students who weren't back in time?
Most of them showed up on their own less than ten minutes late. There was just one straggler that they had to call over the loudspeakers because he didn't answer his cell phone. He had been distracted by some food stalls. He was generally mischief anyways and we all kinda expected him not to come back without hassle.
3. This was not a good idea.
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 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.
she was also a popular cheerleader
I think I figured out that "somehow" Chief.
At my high school, just a few years ago, it was tradition for the football team to go to morning mass during school hours to pray the morning before a football game. This wasn't sanctioned by the school, and they were officially supposed to be marked tardy, but if they weren't too late and were good kids teachers would often look the other way. However, some people got to take advantage of this.
There was one situation in which two girls who were late came in at the exact same time. One was a cheerleader, the other wasn't. They had to stop at the attendance office. The non cheerleader girl was given a tardy slip and sent to class. Then, the administrator asked the cheerleader how mass was. The cheerleader explained that she didn't go to mass that morning, she was just tardy. However, she was still sent to class without being marked tardy, even though she didn't even have mass as an excuse, but even if she did, it's not supposed to make a difference.
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' 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 harass 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 in a public school but that was another shitshow.
1. High school drama matters. Not.
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!
In most situations, when you're hurt by someone, it can be best to just forgive and forget. However, there are some people that can't help but hold grudges. Sometimes it can just be petty, but other times, it can be for very valid reasons.
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