Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2001

Terrorism alters plans for student D.C. trip

September 27, 2001

The plane crash into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and numerous bomb threats at other landmarks led to the cancellation of a program that would have sent high school juniors and seniors to Washington as part of a government studies program.

Sponsor Erin Barnett said the district decided to cancel the trip for financial as well as logistical reasons.

"We don't want to send kids to an unstable situation," Barnett said.

The program started with eight participants, but was down to three before the cancellation. Barnett's share of the trip is paid for only if she takes five or more students, leaving her share up to the district.

"We've had several kids pull out for this year's trip because parents are worried," Barnett said. "I totally understand. I'm a little more leery myself I can imagine parents. I don't know if I would let my own child go right now if I had one."

When the decision was still pending, Barnett said problems could arise if parents and students had made payments and changed their minds later.

"Parents are wondering if something does happen, will they get reimbursement," she said. "Who knows what it will be like by November."

The cut-off date for refunds would have been Sept. 28.

The program takes students to Washington for a week to attend seminars with senators or representatives, policy makers, journalists and members of judicial and executive branches of government. The students also sightsee as part of the trip.

Although Eudora students have participated in the program for more than five years, this would have been Barnett's first trip. She plans on being a sponsor again and making next year her first trip.

"I've gotten pretty good at this," she said, smiling.

At last week's school board meeting, members asked how high school students were reacting to the terrorist attacks.

Social sciences teacher Scott Stein said he could see a difference in patriotism when his American history students said the pledge of allegiance in the morning.

"Since this, I think the level's risen a little bit," he said.

In his American history classes, Stein said he and students discussed actions the president might take. In his sociology classes they discussed how the Taliban differ from mainstream Muslims.

Eudora High School Principal Dale Sample said most students knew what was going on, and the school kept them updated with information they knew was factual.

"The hallways were a little more sobering," Sample said.

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