Parents appeal banning of school trip

South River High band planned to visit Scotland

March 06, 2003|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

A group of parents from South River High School appealed yesterday the Anne Arundel County school superintendent's policy on out-of-town trips, which is forcing them to cancel a band field trip to Scotland because of terrorism concerns.

The weeklong trip for 110 students and 30 parents, scheduled to begin in mid-April, was put on hold last month when officials banned field trips outside the county.

About a dozen parents attended a school board meeting yesterday, intending to ask that the trip be reinstated. They did not testify, however, after officials encouraged them to file a formal appeal to the board instead.

Several planned field trips, including one to London and others to Baltimore and Washington, were canceled last month when the nation was in a code orange terrorism alert status. Most trips have since been reinstated, but those requiring air or ocean travel remain banned.

Parents say school officials should permit the trip now that the alert status has been lowered. Hollis Misiewicz, president of the school's music booster club, said after the meeting that most parents do not think the trip would place students in danger.

Misiewicz had signed up for the trip along with her son, a 10th-grader who plays French horn.

Students and parents who planned to make the trip have paid $700 each toward the $2,000 fee to British-based Youth Music of the World Ltd., which organizes travel and performances for school bands. The band had planned to tour London and march in an Easter parade in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The company said it would not give refunds unless the U.S. State Department issued a warning against travel to Great Britain.

School officials said they will consider the parents' request when they review the field trip policy next week.

But they indicated that they would not make an exception for South River High simply because participants have paid money.

"We want to make sure we make decisions that have student safety first and foremost in mind," said Associate Superintendent Kenneth P. Lawson.

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