Newington to End Eighth Grade Trip to Washington, D.C.

Newington has decided to end a 30-plus year tradition, citing cost and liability concerns

A multi-day field trip to the nation’s capital has become a tradition for middle school students across Connecticut, but it’s one that may be coming to an end in Newington.

Newington’s eighth grade class will be headed to Washington, D.C. May 1. This could be the final trip for this Connecticut town and some residents aren’t happy.

Washington’s rich historical landscape has long been an attractive field trip destination for Connecticut eighth grade students. But Newington Public Schools have decided to do away with this educational excursion, beginning next year.

“I was really sad because I’m going to be missing out on a lot of history that happened,” said Gina Hughes, a seventh grader at John Wallace Middle School. (12:14)

“Everyone is very upset. Very confused. We’re wondering why the parents didn’t have anything to do with the decision making,” parent Michelle Rizzo added.

The disappointment has resonated on social media and led to a petition urging reconsideration. As of Monday night, it was nearing 500 signatures.

“I want to see the trip keep going. I mean it has been going on for, I just found out 30-plus years. Why are we stopping it? Why?” asked Melissa Fusco, who created the petition.

Newington Public Schools Interim Superintendent Pamela Muraca, who declined to speak on camera, said there were several reasons for the change.

She said the cost, estimated between $400-$500 per student was prohibitive for some families, that the need for chaperones created additional needs for substitute teacher coverage, and that there was increased liability and the trip no longer aligned with the curriculum.

“I don’t believe that at all. If it doesn’t align now, why did it align other years?” Rizzo said. “I know it has changed but it doesn’t seem fair that it would affect one town and not the others.”

In lieu of the D.C. trip, Muraca said Newington Schools are exploring other options, including day trips to Boston, New York and various other Connecticut locations.

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