It starts with this general district-wide information below:
In 2013, the district revised its field trip procedures and chaperone training requirements. School administrators were trained on these revisions during the summer of 2013. The field trip procedures and chaperone training requirements are being further reviewed this fall (2014) to reflect lessons learned.
We are taking the following steps to ensure the safety of our students on overnight field trips. Here’s what parents and staff need to know:
· There must be at least two chaperones on each trip of more than 6 students including at least one chaperone for every 10 students.
· We will not allow parent/teacher chaperones to bring their own younger children on the trip.
· We require 24/7 supervision with bed checks in the middle of the night.
· We require chaperones to maintain proximity to the students.
· Parents and students are required to sign off on the guidelines; including the understanding that violation of the field trip behavior requirements may result in the student being sent home.
· Lead chaperones are required to provide training to each of the chaperones on the trip. · Emergency procedures for the chaperones to report student or chaperone violations up the chain to security, the principal or the superintendent/designee as appropriate.
It appears that some things have changed. For example, it's not even a matter of getting permission to bring any younger children on a trip, the district isn't allowing any chaperone to do it. This was an issue on the Garfield trip.
It is also my understanding that no chaperone has to stay up all night: there are measures that can be taken to ensure bed checks periodically throughout the night.
I also note the "maintain proximity to the students" which, again, was an issue on the Garfield trip.
What is curious in the press release was also this:
*Please note, the district will not be doing interviews. The information below should provide adequate information.
Being a citizen-reporter, I actually have lots of questions but apparently I shouldn't ask them? I'm supposing I can ask Communications but that statement above feels like, "don't call."
Then there is this letter from Garfield principal, Ted Howard:
December 12, 2014
Dear Garfield community,
As you know, student safety is a priority at our school and in the district. I was recently made aware of a field trip (the Fall Survival 2014 outing) where coed teams shared designated sleeping areas. The district is going to conduct an investigation into this field trip to determine what happened and why coed sleeping arrangements were permitted.
I want to reassure our families that we take any potential breech of policies and procedures very seriously. At this time, the district has not received any information regarding inappropriate and unsafe incidents during the field trip.
For more information on these policies and procedures, you can visit the district’s Title IX Compliance site: http://www.seattleschools.org/
Garfield High School
Where to start?
It would seem policy got violated by having high school students in coed teams share sleeping space. How did this happen and who are the tone-deaf Garfield organizers who let this happen?
And ANOTHER investigation?