News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 30, 2017
Penobscot class trip proposal conflicts with school policy

by Monique Labbe

The first proposal of the Penobscot Community School’s 8th grade class trip was met with hesitation from the three members of the school board in attendance during the board’s monthly meeting on November 13.

The hesitation was due to conflicts with guidelines set in the school’s current 8th grade class trip policy, which was adopted in 2014.

As it stands, the policy states that the trips take place within the New England region, and are a maximum of three days, two overnights. The trip should also feature educational activities and an appropriate amount of chaperons per student.

The entire 8th grade class presented its proposal for a trip to Washington, D.C., to board members. If approved, the trip would include visits to the White House, several museums and other historically relevant activities. The trip would take place over Memorial Day weekend in May, and would be three overnights and four days.

Because Washington, D.C., is outside of regional New England, and because the trip would be extended a full day, some of the board members felt it would be difficult to give exception to this year’s class.

“If we make an exception for one class, then we would need to make exceptions for other classes,” said board member James Goodman. “Where do we draw the line?”

Fellow board member Fred Briehl noted that, as a former teacher, he took several classes on trips to the nation’s capital, and that the board should consider allowing this trip as well.

“Things are happening so fast in this country, and I think it would be a great experience for these kids,” he said.

Class advisor Michele Charette noted that the students had read over the school’s class trip policy and were fully aware of the conflicts between their proposal and what is in that policy prior to approaching the board.

“This is what they want to do for their trip,” said Charette to the board members. “But they know that there is a good chance your answer will be no. We have backup plans just in case.”

Charette added that putting together the trip, from travel and hotel costs to the itinerary, has been a learning process for the students, regardless of the board’s decision.

Goodman, Briehl and board member Anne Hayes-Grillo, all decided that because the full board was not present for the meeting, the vote for approval of the trip should be tabled until the December 11 meeting.