JAMESTOWN – The president of the Jamestown School Board says school officials will likely continue to give permission for field trips that involve taking students out of the country.
On Tuesday night the Jamestown School Board heard from French teacher Victoria Rishell, who offered a recap of the French Club’s trip to France, which took place last week during spring break. In addition, a family that included two Jamestown students also spoke to the school board, offering their thoughts on the trip while also saying they would not hesitate to go again.
While students were on the trip, a terrorist bombing took place in nearby Brussels. A portion of the trip also included a visit to Paris, location of the November terrorist attacks that left 130 people dead and dozens more injured.
School Board president Joe DiMaio said student safety is always a top priority when the board decides whether or not to give permission for a field trip. But he adds that in addition, cultural enrichment and the once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity for students must also be considered.
“I think it depends on a lot of the situations, but if you look at our strategic plan, we want to broaden our students’ outlook by given them the opportunity to travel abroad,” DiMaio said. “There’s also other benefits too. They have to work hard. A lot of these kids who go have to work hard to raise money. So it’s a nice accomplishment for them.”
DiMaio also said that contingencies for the trip were in place if an incident or situation comes up while the students are overseas. He said that’s a testament to having a veteran teacher helping to organize and lead the trip
“As long as we can do it as safely as possible and I think it helps to have an experienced person doing it,” DiMaio said. “[Victoria] knows all the ropes. She had contingency items built in to the trip, so I think that made everybody a bit more comfortable with allowing the trip to proceed.”
School Superintendent Tim Mains also said that the school was also in contact with Rishell during the trip, both through cell phone and email. He said he was in communication with her once it was learned the Brussels bombing had taken place. He said at the time the incident happened, the students were in the southern part of France and away from the Brussels attack. Brussels, located in Belgium, is about 60 miles from the Belgium-French boarder.
DiMaio said that obviously the board will have to consider international affairs when granting permission for any future field trip, including those that go overseas.