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Top 10 School Trips Gone Wrong


Script written by Andrew Tejada

Staying home would’ve been better than going on any of these field trips. From a most wanted criminal chaperoning an elementary school outing, from a robbery in the Red Light District, from cramming 11 children into a Honda Accord, these are truly the worst of the worst. WatchMojo counts down ten school trips gone wrong.

Special thanks to our user Vitor Emanuel Cardoso for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Worst+Real+Life+School+Trips.


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Script written by Andrew Tejada

Top 10 School Trips Gone Wrong

Staying home would’ve been better than going on any of these field trips. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 school trips gone wrong.

For this list, we’re taking a look at educational excursions from around the world that became infamous as a result of accidents, controversy or teachers making bad choices.

#10: In the Trunk for Walmart

Sometimes hunger can lead to questionable decisions. In 2014, middle school teacher Heather Cagle decided to take 11 of her students on a snack run to Walmart. Without asking permission from their parents or seemingly considering the risks she was putting them in, the teacher had her students pile into a Honda Accord, with 2 in the front seat, 7 students crammed into the backseat and 2 riding in the trunk. After parents heard about the unapproved trip and the two additional students she left behind at the school, Cagle was eventually fired after a hearing. Maybe she should just order pizza next time?

#9: Hiking Fall

Aside from appearing in the cult classic show Twin Peaks, Mount Si is a popular destination for hiking and field trips. In 2016, two students were enjoying a hike with their cross-country team. When they split from the main group, one of the students fell 90-feet down the mountain, resulting in serious head injuries. Rescue crews were able to save the stranded student and airlift him to get medical attention, and fortunately, the student regained consciousness on the helicopter ride to the hospital. If they learned anything that day, it’s to stick to the main trail, and to stay with the rest of the group.

#8: Robbery in the Red Light District

The craziest thing you might expect to happen on a physics field trip is that a student makes some sort of scientific breakthrough. But while visiting the city of Geneva in Switzerland in 2005, two students decided to leave their hotel and research the local nightlife. Over the course of the night, they got drunk and one student got his money stolen from a worker at a nightclub. After their wild experiment was discovered the next morning, Swiss police were informed but decided not to press charges. The students were sent home early from the trip, and luckily did not experience any further mishaps from their misbehavior.

#7: The Most Wanted Donald Vasser

Pop quiz: If you’re a fugitive with more than 20 arrests under your belt for crimes like burglary, harassment and assaulting an officer, would you think it’s alright for you to chaperone a school field trip? If you answered yes, you may be Donald Vasser. In 2011, despite being featured on the TV show “Washington’s Most Wanted”, Vasser decided to provide assistance on his daughter’s elementary school field trip. Eventually he was recognized and reported to police, from whom he escaped after a short altercation. Vasser would turn himself in later that day. Although he failed to stay hidden, the biggest failure in this story is whoever conducted his background check.

#6: Pre-Teen Childbirth

In 2011, a 12 year old girl from the Netherlands was out on a school field trip when she started reporting serious stomach pain. Her teachers rushed to her aid and called an ambulance, with the staff realizing that she was actually in labor. Since there wasn’t enough time to get the girl to a hospital, the student ended up giving birth in a building close by. The baby was born healthy, and local Social Services staff was called in to take care of the infant and to investigate how the pregnancy occurred in the first place.

#5: After School Exposure

Garrett Stark was a part time employee with the Summer Adventure Day Camp in Rogersville, Missouri, which is an afterschool and summer program of the Logan-Rogersville School District. In 2016, he faced charges of sexual misconduct and child molestation after two 7-year-old students reported that he had shown them his genitalia on the bus on the way back from a trip to the zoo. One of the students claimed that a similar incident had happened prior to the events on the bus. Stark would later admit that he had exposed himself on the bus but denied the molestation charges. After an investigation, Stark was arrested and later fired.

#4: Hotel Room Sex Tape

There are those adults who are a little too casual with the rules and then there’s teacher Michael Clarkson. While on a school trip to Portugal in 2006, Clarkson allowed his students to stay up past curfew and drink alcohol. If that wasn’t enough, when one of his male students returned to have sex with a woman, Clarkson allowed them the use of his hotel room. During the course of the night, the student discovered he was being secretly filmed. By reviewing the videotape, it was clear that Clarkson was the one who set it up. After school officials heard what had happened, there was a hearing that led to Clarkson being fired and banned from teaching for 4 years.

#3: CSI: Fort Lauderdale

Ever wondered what it would be like to be on CSI or one of its many spinoffs? A Florida high school summer criminology class got their chance back in 2006. Their teacher, Sue Messenger, had set up a mock crime scene with fake evidence and so on in a park. While looking around, a student noticed a hand clutching a fence. Upon taking a closer look, the students realized that hand belonged to an actual corpse. After their teacher confirmed it wasn’t part of her lesson, the police were called to investigate. It was later determined that the man died of natural causes, with the students getting a firsthand, if somewhat ironic, experience of a real crime scene.

#2: Underground Railroad Re-Enactment

In 2012, while on a trip to Nature’s Classroom in Massachusetts, a 7th grade class from Hartford, Connecticut learned about the Underground Railroad - by reliving it in real time. During the field trip, students reportedly were forced to pretend to pick cotton, stuffed into a dark space as if they were on slave ships, had to hide from the instructors who were acting as slave masters and were allegedly called racial slurs. After the trip, the parents of an African-American student that attended filed a complaint with the school board. The director of the Nature’s Classroom defended the activity, but said that changes to the program would be made.

Before we travel to our top pick, here are some honorable mentions.
- Dallas Independent School District Segregates Boys from the Girls for Movie Field Trip
- Sunburn Blisters at Barcelona Water Park

#1: Brain at the Morgue

Two months after fellow student Jesse Shipley died in a car crash, students of a Staten Island forensics club took a field trip to a morgue in March 2005. During the visit, the students were shown the brains of deceased people in jars. They soon noticed that one of them was labeled with the name of their recently deceased classmate. After the brain was confirmed to be his, the parents of the deceased student sued the city, and the organ was returned to the family. They reburied it with their son to gain closure and to ensure that no student ever has to have a field trip go as badly as this one.

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