Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2001

School board discusses grounding student travel

October 18, 2001

The De Soto school board continued to respond to issues surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including consideration of restricting school travel.

At Monday's meeting, Superintendent Marilyn Layman commented that neighboring states have limited out-of-state school travel and wondered if the school district should do the same.

Board member Sandy Thierer said the district should not be afraid.

"If we change the way we do business because we're scared, then we might as well shut the doors and stay inside the terrorists have won," she said.

Thierer did suggest a more cautious approach to travel.

"Maybe we can bus students instead of flying them," she said.

Board member Jim Plummer agreed that travel should not be restricted entirely, but should be up to those involved.

"I think it should be the group's decision whether they go," he said. "But we shouldn't tell them no."

Board member Marsha Bennett said the final decision should rest with the leaders of the groups.

"It should depend on the comfort level of the staff," she said. "We can't force them to go either."

Board member Jim Thomas suggested a group be formed to gather information on travel obstacles and provide instruction to traveling groups on safety measures.

"Traveling isn't the same anymore," he said. "We need to help them prepare for this new world, because it has changed so dramatically."

The board is expected to gather more information from the Department of Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration to further understand the problems for travelers before drawing a decision on restricting out of state travel for student groups.

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