Are School Trips Safe?

Two articles in today's New York Daily News should make all parents think twice before allowing their child to go on a school trip. The first article discusses the indictment of a parent chaperone from Stamford, Connecticut, who allegedly filled his water bottle with vodka and groped fifth grade female students. The second article discusses the findings of an investigation into the drowning of a 12 year old girl on a school trip from Manhattan to go to swimming in Long Beach. Among the missteps: There was no life guard on duty, yet children were allowed to swim anyway; there were no permission slips specific for the trip; their were 3 chaperones for the 24 children but at least one of them could not swim; and the children were told that even if they could not swim they could go into the water up to their waist. Strong tides pulled the children farther into the surf. The chaperones and beach-goers were able to pull several children out, but could not rescue Nicole Suriel, age 12, who died. Ironically, an assistant principal who was supposed to be a chaperone on the trip decided not to go so he could do paperwork to order school supplies which needed to be ordered to avoid losing $30,000 in funding. Obviously, the series of bad decisions made by the school ended up costing them much more than $30,000. Clearly schools need to do a better job. - Marc Miner

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