Hairston relaxes ban on school trips

Travel within U.S. OK, overseas destinations not

April 29, 2003|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County Superintendent Joe A. Hairston has relaxed a ban on field trips, allowing all school-sponsored travel within the United States, while continuing to ban trips outside the country.

The superintendent's decision Friday occurred after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security lowered the nation's alert status from orange to yellow.

"We're beginning to relax as the country relaxes," Hairston said.

Twenty planned trips to New York, Philadelphia, Washington and other destinations can now go forward. Eight trips abroad remain banned.

Late last month, Hairston banned all school-related travel out of state. But after facing criticism, he eased the ban somewhat, allowing field trips to neighboring states.

The partial ban still forced some parents to sidestep the restrictions.

Betsy Robak, a parent from Overlea-Fullerton, helped arrange for her daughter and 13 other members of the Indoor Guard, a color guard at Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts to go ahead privately with a May 2 trip to New Jersey.

Parents signed waivers relieving the school system of liability. "Even though I understand the school system had to do what it had to do, for these trips it should have been the parents' decision," Robak said.

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