June 13, 2018, W. Goshen (PA) Daily Local: WCASD superintendent mulls ending annual school camping trip http://www.dailylocal.com/article/DL/20180613/NEWS/180619919 Tears flowed freely and emotions ran high for many of 30 public speakers in an audience of about 150, at a meeting to discuss a West Chester Area School District decision to end school camping trips to Cape Henlopen, Tuesday night at Peirce Middle School. Peirce seventh graders are the last of the district’s middle schoolers to take the camping trip to Delaware, a 49-year tradition. Stetson Middle School ended a similar trip to the Poconos in 2017 and Fugett Middle School has not taken an overnight trip with the entire class for about a decade. … • “The demands of our staff have continued to increase, as many of our students have a variety of medical issues that need to be closely monitored (asthma, allergies, etc.)” Missett wrote. • It is becoming increasing difficult to find quality substitute teachers while teachers are away on the trip. • “We have concerns about liability and responsibility that goes along with our staff supervising students overnight.” Missett wrote. Scanlon said that allowing teachers to cook for students is a “lawsuit waiting to happen. “While it is unfair, it is our reality,” Scanlon said. The superintendent attempted to dispel several rumors concerning the 49-year tradition. Canceling the trip is not a budget-based decision, he said. Parents pick up most of the cost…. Not everyone wants to keep the trip. Some agree with the decision. During the past two years, 49 students did not attend. Scanlon said the district has been fortunate, and just because there have been no liability issues and no complaints does not mean the district could not be held liable in the future. Some believe the district is trying to take all the fun out of school, Scanlon said. The district has pushed back on standardized testing, encouraged students to participate in after-school activities and modified homework policies, Scanlon said…. Most districts have moved away from hosting overnight trips. High schoolers do participate on overnight trips, though they are only held via clubs and don’t include the entire class…. Mother Tammy Hardgrave Ricciardi spoke on behalf of her son who participated this year. He suffers from food allergies and asthma. He brought all his own food. She was “shocked” to see what she interpreted as children with allergies and asthma listed as a reason for canceling the trip. In turn, some peers blamed her son on the cancellation of the tradition.
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