35+ Weird, Gross and Random Items Students Bring to School

35+ Weird, Gross and Random Items Students Bring to School

I was scrolling through Facebook when a photo of my friend Katie, a high school teacher, caught my eye. She was holding a large yellow lizard and smiling so big I couldn’t help but smile myself. And then I laughed so hard I nearly spit out my coffee when I read the caption.

One of my students brought her emotional support bearded dragon to school to help her with her exams. She had it hidden in her sweatshirt.” 

35+ Weird, Gross and Random Items Students Bring to School_Bored Teachers

Katie teaches high school biology, owns bearded dragons herself and has a fantastic sense of humor. This little stowaway would have caused us to scream, but it made her day. We became curious about what other random surprises teachers have found in the possession of students, so we polled our teacher friends to find the most hilarious classroom discoveries. There seem to be a few basic categories of goods smuggled into school: nature, gross, random and dangerous. Some items fit more than one category!


Many live creatures have been found hidden in backpacks. One teacher “noticed a weird smell starting to permeate the room” her first year teaching. Her investigation revealed a dead opossum. A student found it on the way to school days before and had been carrying it in his backpack until he had “time to bury it.” Other entries to the nature category include:

1. Cockroaches

2. Snapping turtles

3. Baby opossums (alive… or dead)

4. Baby bats

5. Snakes

6. Goldfish in a Thermos

7. Hampsters, mice, and gerbils 

8. Many other various insects, amphibians and reptiles found on the way to school or smuggled in from recess


My daughter liked saving her baby teeth in a small decorative container. She came home from elementary school frantic one day. She’d secretly transferred the teeth to a ziplock bag, brought them to school and lost them! I emailed her teacher who was relieved to find the owner of a baggie of loose human teeth that had mysteriously appeared on her desk the day before. My child isn’t the only one bringing yucky stuff to school. Teachers have also discovered:

9. Used Q-tips

10. Nail clippings

11. Rotted Halloween jack-o-lantern

12. New sibling’s poop-filled diaper

13. Lollipop covered in ants 


Random items usually belong to someone else and parents rarely know they have them. A few “treasures” include:

14. Grandpa’s ashes

15. A flask used as a water bottle…

(because it fit better inside the student’s bag than a traditional water bottle)

16. Concrete brick

17. Mom’s expensive perfume

18. Mom’s diamond engagement ring 

19. Fuzzy handcuffs

(which the teenage boy claimed belonged to his mom)

20. Cat whiskers 

21. A wad of cash

22. A gun case used as a lunchbox 


Sure, it’s annoying, but not totally unexpected when high school students show up with contraband such as lighters, cigarettes, pills or even weapons or drugs. But preschool and elementary school teachers also reported dangerous and questionable items brought into school by young students.

23. Cigarette butts the child tried to light at recess

24. Bullets

25. Various medication 

26. Weed (in a preschool classroom)

27. Barbeque lighters

28. Cigarette lighters

29. Cigars 

29. Hammers and other tools

30. Kitchen knives 

31. Vape pens – before we knew what they were

32. Adult magazines

33. Brass knuckles

34. Firecrackers or fireworks

35. Live wasp nest

So what do you do when you find something that shouldn’t’ be at school? Step one is to try not to freak out, even if there’s a snake slithering around your classroom. Of course, if the item is truly dangerous, you’ll need to immediately follow proper protocol for keeping students safe. However, most items allow time to calmly call the administration for backup and then call or email the child’s parent with news of your discovery. 

Step two is to try not to laugh hysterically – until you get to the teacher’s lounge. Teaching is hard, but at least kids give us great stories to tell at parties!

35+ Weird, Gross and Random Items Students Bring to School

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She’s been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga.
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