Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Wachusett student left in Italy to fend for herself

This is completely outrageous! A group of students from Wachusett Regional High School went to Italy for a week to participate in the model U.N., and the chaperones intentionally left one of them behind because she had lost her passport!

I’m nearly speechless. Again, they left a high school kid alone in the Milan airport and flew back to Boston without her. Not even one of the chaperones stayed behind to help. Here’s the story from the Telegram & Gazette:

HOLDEN— An 18-year-old Wachusett Regional High School student was left alone in Italy for a day to arrange her flight home after losing her passport hours before the student group’s scheduled return flight....

“On the night before she was to return home she lost her passport, ID, everything, in the back of a taxi,” Ms. Howe said. She said the two chaperones gave her daughter 200 euros because she also had lost her money, and that they told her daughter to go to the consulate for a replacement passport and a flight home. She was to stay in the airport until her flight, Ms. Howe said. “She was left in Italy for a day by herself.”
What precluded one of the two chaperones from staying behind?

There were other problems with the trip as well, Mr. Pandiscio told the school board: too few chaperones and the fact that one of the chaperones did not fly all the way back to Boston with the students, but rather flew to North Carolina.
So this is what it really boiled down to. There were only two chaperones and one of them was not returning to Boston with the group. So the options were to have the straying chaperone cancel the trip to North Carolina and stay in Italy, keep the entire group together in Italy an extra day so the one remaining chaperone could stay with the girl, send the other 13 kids home alone, or leave the student stranded in Italy until she could figure out how to get her passport and get home.

The adults responsible for the students on the trip chose to leave one behind.

Oh, wait, you mean there might have been another way to get her home?

[Superintendent Thomas G.] Pandiscio told the school board and Ms. Howe the chaperones had copies of the passports and that he believes the student would have been allowed to fly home with the rest of the group using the copy as identification.

He said the chaperones should not have been making last-minute decisions, and that the policies and procedures required them to have emergency plans and telephone numbers.
Well, I don’t agree with the part about the chaperones not making last-minute decisions. That’s kind of why there are there. The problem is that leaving a student alone in Italy is the wrong last-minute decision.

When my son is in high school and traveling to these kind of events, I’ll be damned if they’re going to leave him behind. The school district has 12 years to get this figured out.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment


No Drumlins Copyright © 2009 Premium Blogger Dashboard Designed by SAER