For decades, students in Newington have looked forward to a field trip to Washington D.C., but now parents are fighting to keep it going after administrators decided to call it off.
More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition to continue the trip, and on Tuesday dozens showed up to town hall where they pleaded with school leaders to change their minds.
“I was also shocked,” said seventh-grader Dylan Fusco.
Fusco had been looking forward going into 8th grade next year and the yearly class trip to Washington D.C., but he and others were stunned when Newington school administrators decided to cancel this tradition going forward.
“I didn’t think they would take it away without that much discussion about it,” Fusco said.
His mother, Melissa, went on the trip 24 years ago.
“It’s been kind of devastating in a way because he’s going to miss out on it. He’s got a little brother who’s going to miss out on it now. It’s just not fair,” Melissa Fusco said.
They were among the families who packed a Board of Education meeting that was thrown together to respond to the public outcry.
“I hope they find a way to make it work,” Newington resident Dana Havens said.
Parents and kids hearing that school staff had actually been debating the trip’s future for a while.
“I understand that parents are going to be upset and they have every right to be upset,” said Newington Board of Education Chair Joshua Shulman.
Shulman says there were several reasons for the cancellation. Those include not all families being able to afford the $450 cost, liability concerns, not fitting with the curriculum and having to find substitutes for the teachers who go as chaperones.
“It’s not a decision for the board to make,” Shulman said when asked if the decision could be reversed. “So that will be in the hands of our middle school principals. It’s my understanding they’re sticking with their decision.”
School leaders calling this a difficult choice but it was about balancing the challenges and the benefits. They hope to send the kids on a day trip to a regional destination instead.