50th Edition, News

“You can’t go global now”

By Denebola
Published: February 2011

By Emily Concannon,
Volume 41
October 26, 2001

Not global now. Like many other schools, public and private, Newton Public School students and teachers will have to stick closer to home for the foreseeable future.
In past years, Newton South students have been able to extensively visit the greater world through school trips. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, the 2001-2002 school year will be decidedly different according to Newton Superintendent Jeffery Young.
In a recent memo to Newton principals and staff, Dr. Young announced that until further notice no school-sponsored trips outside America would be allowed, and all trips or excursions would be subject to prior review,
Though national and international excursions have long been highly anticipated events at South, major trips to China, Italy and Prague have been cancelled, along with other, smaller trips.
Noting he was following a U.S. State Department advisory, Dr. Young explained his decision. The Oak Hill bus tragedy of last spring added an additional dimension of concern, prompting review of travel on weekends and evenings. Young and associate superintendent, Dr. James Marini, now must approve detailed itineraries of all field trips traveling between the hours of midnight and six a.m., at least two weeks in advance of departure.
“Trips within Massachusetts will proceed as planned. Out-of-state trips, or trips requiring overnight travel, must receive my prior approval,” Young said. “The overall purpose o the policy is to keep American students out of planes, away from important landmarks and close to home.”
Furthermore, Young reserves the right to cancel any field tip (both within Massachusetts and to other states) at any time prior to departure.
There is much disappointment around South about the cancellation of the trips overseas. However, most students and teachers seem to understand the risks.
“The U.S. Department of State has issued travel advisories for Americans going overseas. Clearly, the main concern is that Americans may become targets of those with terrorism in their minds. More and more districts are following the same policy,” Young said.
Some confusion at South existed about whether previously planned trips to Mexico and Canada will be allowed. In response, Young has confirmed that there will be no trips anywhere outside of the United States.
Young hopes that his decision will relieve parents of personal anxiety over whether or not they feel comfortable allowing their kids to journey overseas with school groups. Many parents will be grateful that they do not have to face such a difficult decision regarding the safety of their children.
Young felt it necessary to put the policy into effect immediately, so that no more time or effort went into planning. For organizers, it is a demanding task to plan overseas trips for large groups of teenagers and much time has already been spent planning South trips abroad. Officials hope that by the 2002-2003 school year the trips can resume.
The South chorus had hoped to travel to Italy later in the year. “A lot of detail had gone into the planning and into an additional curriculum about Italy,” choral director Ben Youngman said.
Nevertheless, Youngman and the choral students support Young’s decision to cancel the trip. “When I first found out about the trip, I was so excited. Now I feel disappointed, but I understand why he superintendent thought it unsafe for us to go,” sophomore Ava Shapiro said. Choral student Vered Tomlak agrees.

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