I am heartbroken for my 8th grader. Class Washington DC trip filled up.

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Posted 1/28/2013 by iPam in NSBR Board
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iPam
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:27:59 AM
I just got a call fom his school that there are not enough kids to fill a 4th bus for he annual 8th grade trip to DC so the 17 kids on the wait list will not be going. I don't have the heart to tell him. I even asked about us getting him up there on our own and letting him at least participate in the tours but they said no. I am dreading telling him. He already has his roommates picked out and is so excited to go.

I understand that because of such tight budgets they can't afford a bus with only a few seats filled but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this. There are 44 seats per bus and they need at least 35 seats paid for to justify the next bus and only have 17. My kid is #8 on the list. The gap is so wide that they feel pretty certain he won't make it, hence the phone call this morning. They are sending us our deposit back this week.

Being on this side of the issue I want to play the 'that's not fair card' and go to the school board but I won't do that. I really feel that this is totally unfair though. Every year they say that they are going to stop this trip because of the financial nightmare and issues like ours but the PTA always manages to get it done. I applaud them for that. My oldest son had a blast on his trip and it is something the kids all look so forward to. I am just so dreading telling my son he will not be going.

They said there is always a chance things could change between now and the trip in May but all the deadlines for payments passed last week so they pretty much have the final numbers. We will for sure do something fun for him while they are on their trip but I have a feeling that he will probably be incredibly sad and not interested. Ugh, I am just feeling so sorry for him.


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I-95
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:31:52 AM
That sucks!! It's too bad they can't include him if you transport him there, but I guess they will be doing their sightseeing in the buses they travel in, so there wouldn't be room to add your DS anyway.

I'm sorry.

ETA: And it's not fair....or did you play some part in that by signing up too late?

Basket1lady
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:36:12 AM
What? A school sponsored field trip and not all the kids are going? How did they pick those unlucky 17 kids?

Where are you driving from? I think they need to get a smaller bus or parents willing to drive and get these kids to DC. Unless you were late sending in your reservation and missed the deadline, yes I would be THAT parent.

We used to live in Boston and I sent DS on this field trip when he was in 8th grade, even though we had moved to Boston from northern VA and were moving back that summer. It was a huge deal for the entire class. There were assignments structured around the trip and that's all the kids and teachers talked about for a month. Plus, it's a big growing experience for the kids.

They have known all year how many kids are in the class and the expected numbers. I'd be scheduling a meeting with the principal. This is worth fighting for.


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JamieH
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:36:56 AM
Is it possible to get somebody on this and maybe come up with more kids to fill the bus?

JamieH




UkSue
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:37:43 AM
When this happens at my children's schools they simply hire a smaller vehicle for the remaining children ie a small coach or minibus.

I don't envy you telling the poor lad. I know kids have to learn to deal with disappointment but in this scenario, with all his friends already going, I would really feel broken hearted for him.


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KatieBPea
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:37:49 AM
Wow, that really stinks. Even if you knew it was first-come, first served it really doesn't seem right that some of the class is excluded.

ETA: I'm not one to make a stink about much, but this might be something I would take up the 'chain of command.'



Oliquig
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:39:53 AM
That stinks. I have never heard of a grade wide trip not for every one, wouldn't the price include how many buses they needed?


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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:40:29 AM
That really sucks! Poor kid.



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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:40:53 AM
No, no, no, no, no! SEVENTEEN kids are being told they can't participate because they can't fill the bus?

You better believe I'd be "that parent" in this instance! If you don't stand up for your kid, believe me, no one else will...


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irishscrappermom8
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:42:09 AM
That trip is not all its cracked up to be. We ended up going as a family (4 of us) and we spent less and did more than what the class trip was going to cost for one person! Plus, every school goes at the same time and lines are a nightmare.

Since your son would be going by bus, you must be within a few days drive. Perhaps you could make it a family trip. We had a great time going there (well, except for my gall bladder attack) and it was much more personal and we saw so much more than they did on the school sponsored trip.




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schooby
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:43:03 AM
If he turned in all his paperwork on time, then the school should figure out a way for him (and the other students) to go. If he was late turning something in, then it is a logical consequence that he would be on the wait-list, and potentially not be able to go, as this situation has turned out.

Bus companies do have smaller size buses.

How did the school determine who was selected to go? Would they be interested in having parent chaperones to fill up the extra bus? I'm sure there are parents who would love to go to DC and help.

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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:46:23 AM
I wouldn't applaud the PTA for leaving 17 kids behind.

I don't agree with PTA participating in any event that doesn't include every kid who wants to be included. Our school had a PTA-sponsored play and there were always kids who didnt get to join in because they didnt make the cut. It always seemed unfair and I don't think that's the role of the PTA (and I'm a huge PTA proponent).


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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:46:54 AM
Our 8th graders go....all who earn it (those with out of school suspensions are not allowed and the parents and kids know that up front).

Gotta agree with someone else who said take him yourself another time. When I hear what they do on the trip, you could see more on your own.

BUT...they need to accommodate all kids...ALL of them....



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megmc
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:54:49 AM
Did they say there was a limit on how many kids could go?

Were they chosen by lottery?


Why can't he be included in you are will to drive him and stay with him.

TheBiscuitScraps
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Posted: 1/28/2013 9:57:54 AM
I would get the the parents of the 17 and go into the principal's office...even if there are only 4 or 5 of you to go into a meeting, I would form a group.

Principal's DO.NOT.LIKE groups. An individual parent can be reckoned with, but not an entire group.

Fight for your child. This is one of those times he/she deserves the extra effort.

Another solution would be to get with a few parents and form your own group to go sometime this year, even if it is two families.

Another idea would be for your family to go and let your 8th grader take a friend out of the 17 who did not get to go.

But first, I would fight it.


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iPam
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:02:51 AM
We were under the deadlines but it is on a first come first serve basis. I really don't want to make any waves because this trip is always on the chopping block every year and we are one of the last schools in the county who has it. I have a feeling that they would just cancel the whole thing if a big enough stink was made. At the meeting back in November they said that there was a chance that some kids wouldn't make it but that they really try to make that Friday of the trip fun for those kids not going. I did the math and it looks like around 90 kids will not be on the trip, 17 of them from the wait list. The financial nightmare of this trip is that per county laws, they can't charge more than $300 per student for the trip. The PTA has to supplement almost $100 per student just to make it even. Most parents 'donate' the extra $100 but many don't or can't. My oldest son's trip was the opposite of this one as they had extra seats so I guess they have no idea from year to year how the numbers would fall. A smaller van or bus is also out of the question because it is a 10+ hour trip and need bathrooms. It is just one of those things but it still sucks bad.

I think we will fly down to the beach or something fun like that. I will try to find out if any of his friends were on the list and maybe take them with us.


~Pam~
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*KAS*
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:07:26 AM

If he turned in all his paperwork on time, then the school should figure out a way for him (and the other students) to go. If he was late turning something in, then it is a logical consequence that he would be on the wait-list, and potentially not be able to go, as this situation has turned out.




I agree completely. Why are there 17 kids on the waiting list to begin with?

Assuming they have hired a reputable charter bus company, I would find out who that company is and inquire about a mini-coach. They generally hold approximately 25 people, and they would be a more affordable option. They do not usually have bathrooms on them, so that may be the issue? But I would at least be asking the question.

ETA: We were posting at the same time.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:07:56 AM
I'm sorry. I'd be disappointed for my son too. Hope you can make something fun for him.



iPam
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:11:17 AM
I also wanted to add that we have been to DC twice so he knows the city and has experienced the museums and monuments. The school trip is really more about the social aspect. It is kind of a 'coming of age' type things. My oldest said it was a fun ride up there but everything else was very rushed and exhausting. He loved it though.


~Pam~
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UkSue
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:12:49 AM
Tis has reminded me of when my daughter was to,d they couldn't go on their week-long trip to language school in Seville, because there not enough to make it worth while. I was annoyed, because when she signed up for the Spanish A level we were made to sign an agreement that we would fund this compulsory trip.

I went in and saw the department head, suggesting that I be allowed to contact other colleges locally, to see how many they were sending and whether our students could join their group. I reminded him we had been told the trip was compulsory. He told me to leave it with him, and a week or so later we were told it was back on.


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Iowa_girl
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:13:16 AM
How about a family trip to DC?

My DD went on a school group trip, and also went with us as a family. She said the school trip was fun - but they didn't have as much time to see the things she really wanted to see, and they had to deal with "kids being kids" which can affect the whole group when some decide to be butt heads.

She said the family trip was much better. We saw far more things, since we weren't dealing with the logistics of getting that many people to things. DC is pretty easy to navigate (we are country bumkins and had no trouble). Just stay somewhere near a Metro stop and you can get back into DC and to all the destinations easily.

camanddanismom
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:13:39 AM
That seems wrong to me... It's a class trip. Everyone who wants to go and can pay their way should be able to go. 17 kids won't get to go because of the bus? I would be seriously upset!!


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devildog
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:24:29 AM
My dd is graduating 8th grade, they are going to DC for their trip, and it's run the same as yours. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I think the bus held 50, if and when they reached that number, they had to have a guaranteed 25 to add a second bus. If they couldn't reach 25 for the second bus, those that were on the 2nd bus wouldn't go. I don't know if they filled the first bus, added a second bus, or what. But my dd seems to think it's only one bus going, but she could be wrong.

And for us, I remember the principal stressing this was on a first come, first serve basis, so if we planned on signing up our kid, we should do it as soon as possible. He said from past years, they usually didn't make it to a second bus, and there were kids that didn't make it because of the number requirements.

I'm so sorry for your son. My dd has been talking about this trip since she went into the junior high 3 years ago, and she's hyped about it.

What I remember about my junior high trip, just about all of the kids went, and there were numerous buses. For my dd, one bus for sure (50 kids) and possibly a second. I don't know if it's the cost of the trip, or parents don't feel comfortable, or what. I know I've spoken with a couple parents that said they'd never let their kids go. Oh well...

I'll hope things can change last minute. Maybe if enough kids show interest, it's not too late to add an additional bus.



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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:25:14 AM
That is disappointing. The way it worked in our school is that it was first-come, first serve. If they didn't have enough to fill an extra bus, those that signed up a bit later didn't go.

It sounds like that's the situation for you guys too. We live CA, so they flew but then used the busses to tour around.

I hope you find a way for either your son to go, or for your family to go.

My DD went but unfortunately, we can't afford to send DS next year. We'll try to do something with him another time that is similar.



SuzastampinCTMH
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:35:39 AM
Totally unacceptable that not all kids are able to go to a school sponsored event. Does you school not have any of the smaller special education buses? Our district has both them and a few of the regular vans like a "soccer mom van".

In this instance I would be raising a stink!



kelleykreates
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:39:59 AM
Do they pack the buses so that every seat is taken and there are none extra? What will they do if one of the buses breaks down? Our middle school band and orchestra take a trip in the spring and they actually plan it so that there is extra room on all of the buses in case one breaks down, which happened last year.

I would be raising a stink about this to someone higher up. If you turned in your paperwork on time then your child should get to go. The cost of the buses should be worked into the cost of the trip. This wouldn't fly with me, especially with 17 kids not being able to go.


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Epeanymous
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:42:47 AM
That is really frustrating. Wouldn't the best tactic be to find enough kids to fill another bus who simply hasn't signed up yet?

I know how upsetting it would be to be on the wait list, but I think first-come first-served is probably as fair as things were going to get, so I probably wouldn't make a stink to the school about that.

pea brain
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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:44:53 AM
I know times are tight but the organization of this trip is just horrible. I feel sorry for your child.



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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:46:13 AM
My dd is going on the 8th grade DC trip too. It has been stressed to us several times since the end of last school year, that it's first come, first serve and only the first 100 kids will be allowed to go. They had an informational meeting in October and stressed (again) about the 100 person limit. We were able to secure our spot by bringing our deposit to that meeting.

It is disappointing that 17 kids can't go. How much has been done to promote the trip? Any chance you could rally and somehow get more signed up to secure a 4th bus? And honestly, I'd ask the school to please hang on to your deposit until the last minute. Your son may be #8 on the list, but for whatever reason, if enough people drop when it's time to make that final payment, maybe he'd get pulled up. And if they still have your deposit, they know you are serious about getting a spot.

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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:50:55 AM
Oh that is horrible! I have never heard of that. I am so sad for him, too! Are there any other families driving that he could ride with?



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Posted: 1/28/2013 10:55:03 AM
My son went on the Washington trip last year, which was previously only for the 8th graders. Last year they opened it up to 7th graders as well and we filled 3 buses.

Perhaps you can talk to the powers that be and see if they would open this up to 7th graders as well in order to get enough to fill another bus.

Another idea would be to see if they would open it up to parents to chaperone in order to fill the bus.

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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:03:36 AM
I am sorry but a field trip should be for all of the kids. The planning of this trip is horrible. Maybe it should be canceled. Who know how crappy the rest of the planning is?


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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:08:03 AM
In order to fill our busses, we partnered with another school. However, I think that plan was in place early, so was in the initial count of how many they could take.

Could your school possibly look at that as an option?

kelleykreates-I can't imagine most districts don't take along essentially an extra bus in case one breaks down. We recently had a school bus break down during a band trip. Luckily, it wasn't too far on the trip yet. They had to wait for another one to come from district headquarters.

They now want to try and take charter busses for anything out of town but the district wants them to use their busses/drivers. It's rather a major headache to deal with.



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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:12:53 AM
That is awful! My ds is so looking forward to that trip this year! Our school flies there and contracts with a tour service that takes them once they are there so we are covered. My dd loved her trip 2 years ago. I would be furious and ask if there isn't any alternative! I hate it when things like that happen. So sorry for you ds.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:14:05 AM
This would make me be that mom.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:39:53 AM
My sons 8th Grade Class did this trip last year. It is not a "school" trip, it is sponsored by an outside tour company with school teachers going as chaperones. For us, the trip took place the last week of March 2012. Sign ups for the trip were 10 months in advance in May 2011. There were 60 spots, first come first serve for sign ups. Any kids over the 60, were wait listed. They did DC, Williamsburg, and NYC.
I'm sorry your son did not make the list. Anyway, you can take him on your own?

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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:42:24 AM

did you play some part in that by signing up too late?


Good question.




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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:49:31 AM
That's crap.

If there is 44 students per bus, BUT a 35 per bus minimum, why can't they hire a 4th bus and have 37 students on each bus (38 on one)? Then no one gets left out and there's plenty of room for chaperones.

*ETA* I just re-read and see that I misunderstood. I still think they should hire the 4th bus and spread the kids out a bit more.

I'd make a stink about it. If the school won't budge, I would take him myself.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:52:50 AM
It DOES suck...but life is not always fair. The first kids to hand in their deposits SHOULD be the ones to go if space becomes limited. There ARE financial ramifications for not filling up the buses and the school cannot afford to subsidize it. Your son will be disappointed but he will live. I love your idea of planning something special and allowing him to invite another who did not make the cut.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 11:56:27 AM
You can take him and the family or him and a friend as many times as you like, but it won't be the same. He's still missing the 8th grade school trip. You said he is so excited and has picked his roommate, his brother had a blast when he went, etc.

There are ways to resolve this for your son and the others. I couldn't just let it go without a fight.

P.S. I like Tara's idea!


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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:05:15 PM

We were under the deadlines but it is on a first come first serve basis. I really don't want to make any waves because this trip is always on the chopping block every year and we are one of the last schools in the county who has it. I have a feeling that they would just cancel the whole thing if a big enough stink was made. At the meeting back in November they said that there was a chance that some kids wouldn't make it but that they really try to make that Friday of the trip fun for those kids not going


I wouldn't make a stink either, since they told you in advance that it was first come, first serve. I think you are doing the right thing. I would probably tell my son that we would apply the cost of this trip towards a future high school trip. My kids had lots of opportunities to take trips in high school.


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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:09:32 PM
This is PTA sponsored? I'd approach them and frame it as, what is the purpose of the trip? To foster community? Expose as many kids as possible to history and culture? Neither of these purposes is being met. Is it something different?

Is there a way to stay within the budget, meet the objectives and be inclusive? Perhaps the smaller bus can do it. Perhaps each family can be asked to kick in a small amount to cover the cost of the extra bus to allow all children to attend?

There has to be a way to solve the problem. Not put up barriers to leave children behind when no one through fault of their own missed the bus, so to speak.

You don't have to come guns blazing to get a problem solved. I truly believe in teaching my kids to suck it up. But it doesn't always have to be that way if there is a solution to a problem that may not have been thought through.

Good luck!


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




happytobemom
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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:29:55 PM
I have an 8th grader as well and we are in preparation mode for his trip to DC in May. It is a HUGE deal to these kids! My son has been to DC three times, but this by far will be the most special because it is with the kids he has been going to school with since kindergarten.

I would be furious if my kid was left behind.

We take all, or we take none!

This would be a "hill I would die on"....who cares if they retaliate by ending the trips? They should be ended if everyone cant go.

For the people who are saying " first come-first served".....what if everyone DOES submit their money on the first day?? What if your envelope just happens to be one of the last ones opened? Should you be cut?

Our tour is on Worldstrides, and we are flying from Ky to DC.

lucyg819
pearl-clutching nitpicker

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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:36:22 PM
I guess I'm the only one who thinks it's not a big deal for schools to have limited extra-curricular events, limited in access, I mean. I feel awful for the OP's kid, but this is the way the 8th grade trips have always worked in our town.

Our 8th graders can choose from optional trips to DC or Cape Canaveral during spring break. They are planned and run by teachers, but they aren't an official school activity like a field trip to the museum or something. You sign up if you want to go, you pay for it (and it was a hell of a lot more than $300 even back when my kids went, but we have to fly everywhere), plus there's fundraising that goes on all year for it.

There is a pre-set limit for how many kids can go on each trip, and when that limit is reached, you're out of luck. They definitely don't have space for the entire class, but not everyone wants to go, either.


LUCYG
northern california

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



batya
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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:38:03 PM
Lucy-if there was a pre-set limit, they needed to advertise that but in this case they didn't. If they did, that would be different.


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~Lauren~
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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:42:38 PM
From what the OP said, they were told right up front that not all the kids would necessarily be able to go.

While I can understand why the child would be disappointed, I don't agree that everyone must go on every outing; especially where, as here, they were told up front that there was likely to be limited seating.





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ketsmom
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Posted: 1/28/2013 12:48:16 PM
Typical reaction from the Peas. Mom knew it was first come, first serve. Not sure when she signed up in the process but obviously not right away or she would have been on the first bus. Its a tough lesson and I do feel for the OPs son but some of you act like its the end of the world. Plus one pea said she didnt care if the trips were cancelled after this as long as her precious got to go which seems really selfish to me. OP said her son has already been to DC and seen the sights so its not like this is a first for him. I get that its a social thing mainly for the kids, but again there are alot of other social events he can be part of. I do think in the future there should be clearer guidelines for this trip, and possibly this should not something that is offered if all the kids that want to and are eligible cant go. Im sorry for your son Op and agree with you that i would not make a big deal about it with administration or the PTA.
Of my 3 kids only one was allowed to go. My dd has some minor medical issues (RA) and they thought the walking on the trip would be too much for her. My oldest was having behavior problems that year so they wouldnt let him go (dont blame them). Only my middle child went and while he had a good time, I dont think it would have been devastating for him if he missed it.

PeaJaneRun
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Posted: 1/28/2013 1:17:30 PM

I wouldn't make a stink either, since they told you in advance that it was first come, first serve. I think you are doing the right thing. I would probably tell my son that we would apply the cost of this trip towards a future high school trip. My kids had lots of opportunities to take trips in high school.



This would be me as well.

lucyg819
pearl-clutching nitpicker

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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:10:30 PM

Lucy-if there was a pre-set limit, they needed to advertise that but in this case they didn't. If they did, that would be different.

OP said she knew it was first come, first serve. But I was really talking in terms of all the peas who said everyone must be able to go on any school trip/activity. Ours has always been a limited-participation thing and it wouldn't have occurred to me that everyone should go or else no one should go.


LUCYG
northern california

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



OSUBuckeyeFan
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Posted: 1/28/2013 2:42:40 PM
I went on an 8th grade trip to Washington DC in 1986. They still do this trip at the school as my niece is in 8th grade. The cost this year is $275 per child. As far as I know, anyone who pays for the trip goes..it's never been a 1st come first served deal.

The year I went, the second bus broke down on the way home so the entire 8th grade was crammed on one bus till we could get to the nearest rest stop. We were holed up in a Howard Johnson's for 4 hrs while the bus company sent another bus. Lol



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