Despite concerns over security outside the United States, local
schools are proceeding as normal with plans for field trips as far
away as Mexico.
Despite concerns over security outside the United States, local schools are proceeding as normal with plans for field trips as far away as Mexico.
While schools in other states have abandoned plans for excursions to locales as distant as Europe and Asia and as close as a museum in a nearby town, San Benito County schools are plugging forward with field trips and band trips. On March 25, the Hollister School District Board of Trustees approved requests for seven trips from various schools.
“I don’t think we should stop field trips,” said Carol Cochran, HSD Board president. “It’s an important part of education. It expands a student’s class knowledge and knowledge of the outside world.”
The end of the school year is when most field trips are taken, Cochran said
“(Field trips are) a culmination of studies that have been done. It allows them to go see what they studied and reinforce what they learned,” she said.
All seven field trips are to locations in California – the San Francisco Zoo, the Exploratorium and Vista Point in San Francisco, the Monterey Historical Park and the Carmel and San Juan Bautista missions.
One trip that was canceled because of war worries was the bi-annual visit by delegates from Takino, Japan, Hollister’s sister city. Parents of the 15 teenage girls scheduled to come to Hollister last week had expressed concern about security as war rages in the Middle East, according to organizers.
The city has partnered with Takino since 1989 in the Sister City program, which includes trips for students and adults from each city. The Takino students come to Hollister during odd-numbered years and Hollister students travel to Japan in even years. Hollister adults will go to Takino this fall.
“I think it’s fairly safe here right now,” Cochran said. “But I can understand their fears.”
While most trips are to places in California, some groups will venture outside the U.S. The San Benito High School Band will participate in an international music festival aboard a cruise ship that will eventually stop in Ensenada, Mexico. The trip is scheduled for spring break, April 14-18.
James Zuniga, music director and conductor of the SBHS Band, said he hasn’t thought about canceling the trip to Mexico despite war worries, though a few others have.
“There are a couple of parents concerned with the situation we’re in right now,” Zuniga said.
More than 30 students will attend the event, which Zuniga said gives students a “chance to experience different parts of the world.”
Other schools across the nation have canceled international and out-of-state trips. Jamaica Community Unit School District in Sidel, Ill., canceled a trip to Europe for 15 high school students because Americans traveling abroad are being advised to keep a low profile.
The heightened terrorism concerns since the start of the war with Iraq has caused many schools to scrap out-of-state trips, especially those to the nation’s capital. Concerned educators in Fairfax County, Va., canceled trips to Washington, D.C. – less than 20 miles away.
Students with SBHS’s Close Up program braved a heightened security alert to visit Washington, D.C. and see how government works.
Louise Ledesma, history teacher and social sciences division chair, attended the February trip with students and said it was very different in the nation’s capital.
“The parents were really scared with the terror alert,” Ledesma said upon the group’s return. “There were police flashing red lights all the time. It’s a different world back there.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.