Cancellation of field trip leaves students looking for answers


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The field trip to MoMA would have included students from Spanish and French classes.

This spring, teachers planned to take upper-level Spanish and French students to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York on May 17th. Many students were excited about this field trip. However, the sudden cancellation of this trip in April turned all excitement sour.

There are many rumors floating around regarding the reason for such a cancellation. Some people believe that the trip was abandoned due to claims that it would not be “educational,” though this has yet to be confirmed. Some students have developed theories as to why the trip was canceled.

It was canceled because it didn’t fit with the curriculum,” senior Nithin Bommareddy said. “[However], the majority of Spanish IV and part of AP Spanish Language and Culture is art, and this field trip would’ve helped us better understand what we were learning in class, which is the whole point of field trips.”

Whether or not this is the true reason for cancellation is still open for debate. Although, one thing is certain: countless students are very disappointed at the absence of this trip and are searching for explanations.

Principal Mr. Joshua Miller declined to answer most questions regarding this topic, as he said they were “too specific.” However, he did say that “the trip could not be staffed appropriately and therefore had to be canceled.”

Even though the cancellation occurred about a month in advance, this was still rather sudden and deemed “inconvenient” by the people involved. Many students had already paid the $70 fee to visit the MoMA, and teachers had already completely planned the trip.

“I mostly felt very bad for the teachers involved,” senior Kaila Sexton said. “They had worked very hard for us to have this experience.”

Spanish teacher Mrs. Aleica Deterville declined to discuss the topic of school field trips. Spanish teacher Mrs. Jennifer Jaen did not respond to an interview request. Most of Southern Lehigh High School’s teachers and staff were hesitant to comment; however, Southern Lehigh’s superintendent Dr. Michael Mahon was more than willing to meet for an interview.

As it turns out, superintendents are not very involved in planning and approving school field trips. While the field trip needed final approval from assistant superintendent Dr. Karen Trinkle, Mr. Miller is responsible primarily for dictating which field trips are permitted. In theory, this trip had to be initially approved by both Mr. Miller and Dr. Trinkle before it was canceled by one of the two.

“I don’t think we have a policy restriction [for canceling field trips],” Dr. Mahon said. “Ultimately, a trip could be canceled the night before.”

A field trip can be canceled at any time for any reason without restriction. Sudden cancellations are typically a result of bad weather, but this trip was canceled far too early to be explained by surprising rain. The only insight given to disappointed students was Mr. Miller’s comment regarding appropriate staffing.

Though Dr. Mahon was unaware of the staffing issue, he admitted that finding enough nurses for the high school has been troublesome.

“Nurses are in very high demand these days, and we have a hard time finding substitutes for nurses, because their jobs are very important,” Dr. Mahon said. “It’s very hard to find people to staff, especially for our nurses.”

Of course, there is no way to know if difficulty providing nurses was the true reason for the MoMA trip being canceled. Students can only be left to speculate the cause.

Despite the cancellation, Dr. Mahon insisted on the beneficial nature of school field trips. He claimed connecting to something outside of the classroom is very important. When asked to recall a field trip he encountered in his youth, he was eager to answer with a smile.

“In third grade, we went to WVIA, which was the public television station in Scranton. I remember seeing the camera and the lights, and coming across people I had seen on TV,” he said. “I remember thinking ‘oh my gosh, this is the most amazing thing.’”

Though the sudden dismissal of the MoMA field trip is disheartening to students and staff alike, students should know that various members of Southern Lehigh’s staff are excited to provide field trips in the future.