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Burrell puts brakes on field trips

| Thursday, Sept. 18, 2003

Burrell School Board, citing safety concerns as their impetus, plans to pass a measure that would limit school field trips to three school days and keep them inside the United States.

"Just in light of the climate in the world right now, we think it's best that school authorized trips remain in the United States," Superintendent Amy Palermo said.

Palermo said she presented the request to the board based on problems with the trips in the recent past. In some instances, trips were planned up to six months in advance before parents or teachers cancelled at the last minute.

"We're just not going to be in that position right now," Palermo said.

In recent years, students in the district only have gone to Montreal, Canada.

Palermo said that parents and teachers have voiced concerns about the health and safety of the students in light of such things as the events of Sept. 11 and the outbreak of the SARS virus.

Organizing the proper documentation for each student and dealing with border checks also has been a problem, she said.

Palermo said that money and discipline issues are not factors in the decision and that the board will revisit the issue annually.

Board President Andrew Kish said he has no concerns that students won't be able to broaden their horizons by not being able to leave the country in a school-sponsored trip.

"There are a lot of things you can see in the United States to get an educational experience," he said.

As for the trips being limited to three school days, Kish said, "They're in school for an education. We felt that it was one of the important things and we don't want them out of school."

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