School board takes no action regarding school trips abroad in light of Paris attacks

By LISA CAPOBIANCO
STAFF WRITER
After the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, the Bristol Board of Education has not yet decided to cancel any scheduled class trips to a foreign country.
During a meeting held earlier this month, the board discussed whether or not to take any action on foreign trips scheduled for next spring, including a trip to Italy in April, and one in April to Greece.
Board of Education Chairman Chris Wilson said it is a good idea for the board to start weighing in on the issue. During the meeting, board commissioners decided not to take further action, as they stated that the timing was too soon.
“I don’t think we’re in a position right now that we need to cancel any trips right now,” said Commissioner Karen Vibert. “Parents and potential travelers, parents and faculty also need to realize that there may come a time when we don’t know what’s going to happen. There may come a time when we have to make that decision.”
Other commissioners agreed, advising  “keep an eye on what the state department of education says” while allowing parents to decide whether to send their children outside the country.
In the event that the board would make a last minute decision to cancel a trip, Karen Hintz said “any student who is planning on taking one of these trips should buy travel insurance.” Under the district’s policy on international travel, students are instructed to buy trip cancellation insurance.
“We can’t be responsible for any financial losses if we did have to cancel the trip,” said Hintz.
Wilson said he hopes that the leaders of the scheduled foreign trips in the district “really make parents aware of what the risks are.”
“We cannot guarantee anything in this state of the world we live in,” said Wilson.
Kelly Monahan-DiNoia, a Latin teacher at Bristol Central High School, said her class trip to Italy next year is still on, unless the Board of Education decides otherwise.
“We are following the lead of the Board of Education,” said DiNoia. “We always have trip insurance in case something like this happens.”