Free-Range Kids

No, Ma’am, You May Not Chaperone Your Son’s Field Trip Without a Background Check

Readers eytnkefttz — It is time to update the term “Kafka-esque,” which seems to suggest bureaucratic madness belonged to another time and continent. That madness is alive and well, even in Dallas, TX, as you’re about to read.  This piece comes from a Facebook post by my speaking engagement agent, Judy Safern at Leading Thinkers. – L. 

I was delighted when my son’s fifth grade teacher asked me if I would accompany their class downtown on a field trip to the art museum. My son was, too. The night before the trip he texted me: “Goodnight!! I love you!! I can’t wait to go to sleep so I can wake up and we can go to the museum!!”

That morning I got to the school, but first had to buzz for entry. Not that Lorena, the secretary couldn’t SEE me through the glass doors and doesn’t recognize me after a year of buzzing me in when I came to  attend concerts, meet with teachers, volunteer in the library…

“Hi Ms. Lorena!” I smiled and waved after she buzzed to ask “Who is it?” “Judy Safern, here for the field trip!”

Bzzzzz. I’m IN!

Then, on to the office to a) sign their Visitor log with the date, time, name of the child I am visiting and reason for my visit, and b) log into the computer and register my presence online and print out a badge with my photo.

But, uh oh!  “This system does not recognize that name.”

Hmmm. Maybe I’m in there as “Judy” not “Judith” — though, of course I am in there as “Judith” because that’s how my driver’s license identifies me and the school has a copy of my driver’s license. And my water bill. And my lease. And my divorce agreement. They know everything about me.

“Judith Safern,” I typed again.

“Gosh, Lorena,” I said, more flustered than irritated. “What’s going on??”

Other parents were jostling to sign in. “ You must not be in there,” she said. “Let me see your driver’s license.”

Daaaaaa’yum. (That’s “damn” with a North Texas dipthong.) Damn. Ms. Lorena is p.o.’d at me.

I handed it over.

She was PISSED. I mean really pissed. She did not have time for this nonsense, no way, no how.

She studied my government ID, looked at me. Yep. Still me. The me she’s known all year. Then she typed my name into HER computer. Looked up at me again. “You’re not in here. You must not have done your background check.”

“Yes, I have…” I said. “Of course I have…”

“Well,” she said with no smile, no irony, “You’re not in here.”

“Would you please check the paper files?” I asked. “I KNOW I’m in the system!”

“No, MA’AM,” she said.

Now, let me explain the use of “ma’am” here for a moment. You see, in Texas, “ma’am” is not an innocent term. It’s loaded. I mean LOADED with meaning and nuance. Loaded like your daddy’s Colt 45 loaded.

When and if one says “ma’am,” the place it appears in the sentence  and the tone in which it is pronounced make ALL the difference in the world.

THIS use of “ma’am” was a dis.

“This is the DISTRICT system,” Lorena said slowly, hand on her screen. “You need to be in HERE to go on the field trip. You must not have submitted your background check or you’d be in here.”

“But I AM in there,” I said. “And I have completed the background check and I have volunteered at this campus. I was just here last week shelving library books. The system recognized me then, I had a printed badge. Look, we can check the log book and find that badge.”

“Oh, you can’t use that badge TODAY!!!,” she said with great alarm.

“No, no, of course not,” I assured her. ” I just mean, we can VERIFY that I’m in the system by locating that — or any of the dozens of other sticker badges — in the log book.”

Because, of course, one can’t simply leave this school after visiting the building, one must surrender one’s badge and sign out. As a rule follower, I have always pasted my badge in the log book at the conclusion of each visit.

Parents were jostling for the logbook. Others were in line to print their badges. I was gently pushed aside.

This poor secretary was overwhelmed. Too much going on at her desk. I spied the office manager a few feet away and sought eye contact. Fail.

“May I please speak to your supervisor?” I asked the secretary.

“Good MORNING, Ms. Safern!” the school counselor greeted me with a shoulder pat as she breezed past, arms loaded with files, en route to a meeting.

“She’s busy right now,” the secretary.

“I understand that,” said I, “but the bus will be here soon and I am supposed to help chaperone this field trip so we need to sort this out. Can I please speak to someone who is willing to help?”

She glared at me.

“I’m sure someone can just CALL the district and verify my background check…I was in the system last week,” I said as mildly as possible.

“Ma’am,” she said.

Oh, f***.  REALLY? Really, Lorena? You’re gonna  “ma’am” me NOW? We don’t have TIME for Texas Woman Smackdown, the kids want to go see some ART!!!!!!

“Ma’am,” she said “I don’t know WHY you’re not in our system now but if you’re not in the District system on the DAY of the field trip you can’t go.”

The parents who had observed all of this were standing back now. Everyone else had badges.

Mind you, all the f-talk was in my head. I had been calm, cool and collected through the whole thing. But still I was suspect, so none of them spoke up.

They were prepared to send a busload of students with too few chaperones rather than risk the chance that a parent volunteer whose paperwork they could not find might be a pervert.

“How about if you just call?” I asked. “I will go home. And if you can reach someone to verify my clear background and y’all want me to come help today, just call me, I’ll either zip back over here to help chaperone on the bus or I can just meet them downtown.”

“What’s your number?” she asked.

“You HAVE my number,” I said. “It’s all over your filing cabinet and in several different computer screens.”

“Write it down for me, ” she said. “I don’t have time to look it up.”

(Something about this part of the exchange felt as if she was TESTING me to see if I, the evil shapeshifter who had somehow invaded the face and form of Judy Safern, in fact KNEW the number???)

Rule follower that I am, I wrote it down…

“Thank you, ma’am,” I said with a smile as I left. “I appreciate your help and I’ll be waiting to hear from you!”

Then I did what anyone with my national media contacts WOULD do.

The Today Show? The New York Times? The Huffington Post?

I speed dialed Lenore Skenazy as I walked to my car.

“Worst-first thinking,” she said. “That’s what just happened. Without official paperwork they immediately leapt to the worst case scenario, first: that you COULD be a pervert. What would happen if they let you go, even without being able to find you in the district system? Of course, with all those teachers, volunteers, museum guards and docents around, you might not actually have had an opportunity to RAPE any of the kids today but, who knows, you might still groom someone.”

We spoke for about ten minutes. Lenore let me vent. She did a great riff on how just-following-orders, Nazi-complicit the whole thing is: “Well, sure, they’re good NEIGHBORS and they seem like fine people, but the law says that they must be marched out of town and shot, so what can I do?”

Lenore is not just a champion for giving kids more independence and Free-Range, she’s an advocate for more common sense in all dealings.

“The fear factor in public schools in some states is out of control,” she said. “It’s counter-productive.”

It was a fascinating, fun, reassuring conversation, but as we were speaking, my other line rang.

“Hang on, Lenore! It’s THEM!”

“Ma’am?” I heard Lorena say in a conciliatory voice. “I don’t know WHY but for some reason your name was just not associated with our school today, but you ARE in the system and we DID find your clearance so you can come on the field trip.”

Which I did.

But, um, I th ink we need to re-evaluate the policies and procedures here. Maybe not go with “worst-first thinking” — maybe go with common sense, or even the odds? Rules ARE important. I appreciate them. I follow them.  But rules are RULES.

They are not REALITY. –  Judy Safern

field trip of my son

Welcome, kids, teachers and pre-screened, government-approved parents!

sex offender

73 Responses to No, Ma’am, You May Not Chaperone Your Son’s Field Trip Without a Background Check

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I refuse to mess with it. It’s unpaid labor to begin with, and they want me to jump thru eleventy hoops for the privilege AND get snotty into the bargain? Call me when you start paying. Ugh Or, gosh, at least stop being horrible.

lip service about how much they value parental involvement is just that.

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I know that a lot of schools are going overboard with this stuff. I had thought my daughter’s school was one of the better ones, but some time in the past two weeks they started locking the doors and requiring that people be “buzzed in.” They still haven’t jumped on the background check bandwagon.

Where is this coming from? Given that some schools do these things and some school do not (even within a county), I don’t think it is part of any kind of safety mandate from the state. Are administrators being told by their own professional orgs.? Are lawyers/risk management telling them to do this to avoid litigation?

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School office employees are so dang uptight. Yesterday my 5 yr old (not enrolled till next year) darted into the campus when I was conducting business in the school office. Wait wait what’s he doing he can’t go in there. Panic was the tone. I was all flip and said, ok I will fetch him calm down. I quickly whisked away my 5 yr old and made a scene, saying he was dangerous and everything was ok I apprehended him.

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Sadly, nothing new. While most of our school’s field trips (school outside of Boston) are in June, all parent volunteers as a practical matter must obtain background checks (good for one year) at the _start_ of the school year (I presume so the school office can file the requests in bulk) . Even with the delays inherent in the Massachusetts paper based criminal records system, it seems crazy that to volunteer for a spring field trip or Junior Achievement teacher slot that one has to prepare six months ahead of time.

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Background checks for being in the classroom are overkill, but for chaperoning a field trip, I consider them absolutely necessary.

On a field trip, for a teacher to keep up with the entire class, they must be lock-step in line, all doing the same thing at the same time. That’s boring and doesn’t contribute to learning. So, when they have parents/chaperones, they break the class into small groups and a parent/chaperone is in charge of each group, to wander within the parameters of the venue at will, etc. The teacher floats around to the different groups or takes a group of challenging students that they wouldn’t burden a volunteer with. If they are the lead teacher or team coordinator, they serve as the point person with the venue.

The parent/chaperone is also responsible for taking the kids to the bathroom, etc. So, in a large museum, at the zoo, etc, there is ripe opportunity for unseen abuse.

No, a background check won’t prevent someone from abusing for the first time (or keep out someone who hasn’t been caught), but they will prevent a known abuser from having the opportunity to do it again.

I think background checks can be useful when properly applied. You shouldn’t be the PTA treasurer if you have been caught embezzling funds. You shouldn’t drive on a Scout trip if you have a DWI on your record. You shouldn’t be in charge of a group of children on your own if you have been convicted of pedophilia.

Things can get messed up in computer systems. If it’s that important for me to go, I verify everything (and I mean everything) the day or two before.

First thing in the morning in the school office is crazy enough as it is. Adding in final field trip issues and even the most patient and helpful secretary will fall back to absolutes.

And yes, they can look you up in the computer system, but that does take longer. If you want a quick response, write your number down on a sticky note — it also puts it right in front of the secretary to remind her to deal with the issue.

I’m impressed that she followed up on the issue, fixed it, and called you. A lazy or deliberately provocative person wouldn’t have done that. Be sure to thank her for taking those extra steps.

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There is a part of me that feels terribly sorry for the school personnel that have been trained, ad nauseum, to accept no deviations from The Rules. I had an experience with this a while back when I went to pick my son up in the carpool. The Rule was that I needed to be pulled up to a cone at the front of the line to pick him up. When I arrived, his class was already out and waiting before all the others, but there were a couple of cars in front of me waiting for students that would be out in another 10 minutes. A teacher recognized me as his mother, but when I asked if he could come get in, she told me no, because, even though I was lined up at the curb, I was not up all the way up to the cones. He was literally 2 cars away. He could see me, I could see him, but neither of us was allowed to get out of line and get on with our day. So we waited. 10 minutes later the curb was mobbed with kids, the cars in front of me moved on, and I pulled up to the a cone where amidst the chaos of the now hundreds of kids my son was located and brought to my car. The next day, the teacher apologized to me, explaining that she simply knee-jerked. The Rule had been so hammered in and ingrained, that she hadn’t been able to see any other sensible option as viable. Thought, vs reaction, never even entered the scenario. Such is bureaucracy.

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Its a miracle we all survived our childhoods with chaperones, volunteers, etc who were never back ground checked!!! Seriously, why assume parents going on a field trip with THEIR OWN KID and his/her classmates are going to do something to a child. Is there even one case, one case of this happening. Seriously, is there? Can anyone anywhere find a case of a parent chaperoning a field trip molesting a kid?

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Well teachers can go on strike, why don’t the parents do the same thing. Stop volunteering, helping and donating, untill the school system comes back to reality.

If you want to go to the museum with your kids class, just go to the museum, pay your admission, and meet your kid. If you paid to be in there, the school cannot tell you to leave. And the school cannot ban you from interacting with your kid. Just bypass the system.

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It’s not evil that I worry about, nor is it purposeful tyranny. It’s the DJs of the world, eager to justify depravity and tell us why stupid fears are helpful.

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DJ, the typical chaperone on field trips is a PARENT of a kid in school. Random people who are unattached to a school would not be a field trip chaperone. If that PARENT wanted to abuse your kid, there’d be ample opportunity completely unrelated to a field trip where they’re still surrounded by a small groups of kids. It isn’t like they’re going to have a pedophilic oragy with 4 or 5 kids all at the museum. And a museum bathroom while one or more groups of children are on a field trip isn’t really going to be that private a place. And if that parent is a pedophile, probably abusing his/her own kid first since they’ve got easy and regular access rather than molest a strange kid on a field trip.

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Can anyone anywhere find a case of a parent chaperoning a field trip molesting a kid?

How about it, DJ? Do you know of any?

You shouldn’t be in charge of a group of children on your own if you have been convicted of pedophilia.

Pedophilia is not a crime. It is a medical diagnosis and–yes, this is true–it doesn’t apply to every sex offender. It doesn’t even apply to every sex offender whose victim is a child.

Misuse of the word is common, however. Your comment is a prime example of using the word to scare your audience. You seem to be a person who loves rules and precision so maybe you should try being more precise when you use words.

You could write the definition down on a sticky note for yourself.

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>>I refuse to mess with it. It’s unpaid labor to begin with, and they want me to jump thru eleventy hoops for the privilege AND get snotty into the bargain? Call me when you start paying. Ugh Or, gosh, at least stop being horrible.<<

This, exactly. I don't have kids, but this is the reason why I decided not to continue volunteering with the Girl Guides after I had to leave Australia and return (hopefully temporarily) to Canada. As for Ms. Safern's situation, the way she wrote the story was hilarious, but heartbreaking. After an exchange like that, though, I probably would have bailed on the field trip (and told Kiddo why), and then promised to make it up to him later, with a trip to the go-kart track/roller skating rink/water park/whatever.

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I’m never this confrontational outside my own head, but the thought crosses my mind of grabbing my own kid and saying, “Fine! Sweetums is not going on the field trip, I’m taking her to the art museum MYSELF!”

P.S., Just so we’re clear, the paid/unpaid thing doesn’t even enter into the equation with me. I wouldn’t work OR volunteer for or with rude people, but I’d be happy to do either one of those things if the other people there are reasonable.

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Hello and welcome to Bureaucracy.

Fill out this form in triplicate, check Godwin’s Law at the door, and refile in 2 months after your form is lost without anyone telling you. We’ve got rules and procedures and while we can’t be fired for being impolite or inefficient or grossly incompetent, we can be fired for not following rules. You think you’re frustrated by having having to deal with a bureaucracy? Try working for one.

I can come visit my daughter at lunch at the daycare, I can hang out at the end of the day while she runs around the playground with her friends. But I can’t give the kids a demo of liquid repellant fabrics without a background check. If someone finds out that they went against the rules, they could be fined or lose their license.

Jennie- I like how you capitalize The Rule. As if it’s an entirely separate entity unto itself.

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“They were prepared to send a busload of students with too few chaperones rather than risk the chance that a parent volunteer whose paperwork they could not find might be a pervert.”….

Example of measures taken to try to prevent the extremely unlikely (chaperone without a background check is hiding criminal history and plotting to abuse a kid) while increasing the risk of smaller problem (kid getting separated from group. Not the end if the world, but still…actually with too few chaperines, a kid could get kidnapped!)

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Wow, DJ, I think you missed the Free Range point. My mom chaperoned a field trip (back in the ’80s) to a museum in NYC. She had a group of us. Two of us (me and a girl named Dawn) separated from the group. We were just fine. We used a restroom, we looked around while trying to find our group, my mom and teacher were never mad or worried, a museum security guy helped us find our way, we all survived. No background checks, no abuse, nothing eventful.

I am tired of having to prove I am worthy of supporting my kids in school. I am allowed to show up to award ceremonies and PTA meetings unchecked, but I am a suspect first if I wish to volunteer to read to the class or come along on a field trip. Who’s to say I don’t beat the crap out of my kids at home? Or terrorize the ‘hood outside school hours? (I don’t, of course, but they don’t know that.) Oh, how I long for the day I might be able to open and run a Free-Range preschool/young elementary.

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@DJ :The parent/chaperone is also responsible for taking the kids to the bathroom, etc. So, in a large museum, at the zoo, etc, there is ripe opportunity for unseen abuse

these are 5th grade students, not toddlers. The chaperone is going to have numerous very verbal children surrounding them, and the children are quite capable of taking care of bathroom trips on their own. Chaperones aren’t going to be escorting them into the stall, pulling up their pants or any such personal behavior.

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“The parent/chaperone is also responsible for taking the kids to the bathroom, etc. So, in a large museum, at the zoo, etc, there is ripe opportunity for unseen abuse.”

I chaperoned a group of 10 yo’s at the museum this week. I don’t have a background check. I am well known to most students (small school, I’ve got 3 there) and teachers. I was given one of those kids where the teacher gives you her cell # “Just in case” because of behavior problems (he practically submerged himself in the stingray touching pool, tried to buy a grape soda from a vendor then shook it up when I said “No”). The teacher asked me to take PICTURES of all the kids throughout the day and send them to her for a surprise slide show. Why? Because field trips are FUN. The worst thing that happened was getting stuck in traffic. These kids went to the bathroom on their own, like at school, while I waited outside the door.

Abuse? On a field trip? Have you ever tried chaperoning 8 feral children who make yours look like Stepford children? I gave up my water bottles, shared food with hungry kids, and paid for a crappy necklace for the kid who forgot money for the gift shop. I made sure they washed their hands before lunch to get off the stingray stink. I EARNED my glass of wine that night as did all of the other chaperones on that trip.

I do not look at fellow parents in my community with suspicion, especially ones who volunteer for class trips. Anyone who has been on one of these trips knows what I am talking about. I am more concerned with a bus crash and WHY IS THE BUS DRIVER TALKING ON A CELLPHONE than abuse. Seriously, this is NUTS.

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In the Massachusetts system my son is in I do the forms every two years (now that its two years, before it was a year) and things have been ok. Typically I limit my exposure but even with the numerous school functions I volunteer at, the Cub Scouts and other functions I bring my child to I expect nothing from the school. Do I dislike the overpowering rules and the feeling of helplessness I get when I do volunteer to help out when asked? Yes I do, but its the way things are. Times change, and as much as I dislike them I do work within the rules and do what I feel is necessary to stay involved, and known. In some school systems its sometimes worse to be seen as the parent who is NOT volunteering.

I do like this story and its the whole Ma’am point is hilarious, while its known those in the South and South West are polite its the hidden stuff missed by many Northerners you really have to watch out for.

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Am I the only one that is hearing the Twilight Zone theme music? Because Judy Safern is not in their computer system, she no longer exists. Argh, what will be next?

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DJ Troll is trolling…

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I just went on a trip from Maryland to Philadelphia for my daughter’s fifth grade class. They wanted my money, my time, and the field trip started before the school was open.

The kids were great, the day was hot (we applied sunscreen before the trip), and I have survived my last elementary school field trip. I hope middle school is better but I heard most of the parents walk their children to the bus stop (two blocks away, no streets to cross).

On Southerner-isms, I’ve been told that trash talk is preceded by “bless her heart”

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Main Entry: stranger  Show IPA/ˈstreɪndʒər/ Part of Speech: noun Definition: crude, savage person Synonyms: beast, bigot, boor, brute, cannibal, clod, hooligan, hun, ignoramus, lout, monster, philistine, rascal, ruffian, troglodyte, vandal Antonyms: sophisticate

Sssssshhhhhh, don’t give them any ideas Papillo! Now we’ll have parents feeding garlic to kids so that they won’t taste as good to the cannibals roaming around suburbia!

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In order to drive kids on a field trip, my kids’ elementary school requires proof of insurance, and a copy of the driver’s license.

If it’s a walking trip, parents just agree to show up and go with the class.

There are no buzzers on the doors (but they do lock all doors but the front door two minutes after the morning bell rings, which I think is ridiculous).

I usually just walk into the school if I need to find my kid during the day, perhaps give a casual wave to the secretary, or not. I don’t ask permission. I just walk in. (My mother made the mistake of asking at the desk, and the principal did a little “security dance” and told her she wasn’t on the official “pick up list” so she was turned away. I told her to just stride purposely toward the classroom next time.) There is never a record of my being at the school, and certainly no photo ID required or computer system that has my security clearance file on it.

What Judy describes is a system that I just could not agree to. I’m not sure what I would do instead, but the whole idea of background checks to accompany field trips, and getting BADGES when you come into the school for any reason, even if you have kids enrolled there… oh, my. No way, no how. My recent visit to a Washington State prison required less rigamarole.

Sorry Micheal, but some of us will not jump through the hoops of a school’s security theatre, just to prove we care.

On top of the insult that is implied by having to prove myself worthy to be around my kids and their friends, there is the financial costs as well, that are rising every year

These are kids that are in and out of my house more times than I can count. And yet the school insists I prove myself, every year.

As for handing over copies of gov’t ID, such as driver’s licenses, I refuse, as is my right. The issuing gov’t tells us all the time to never hand them over. You can look at the picture to verify who I am, but you will not copy it or the number.

Besides, as it seems with Micheal, too many parents just volunteer for appearance sake.

Guilty until proven innocent. It sounds a bit like the Strict Liability we have here to keep motorists from killing cyclists & pedestrians, only for a faaaaaaar smaller risk instead. Matter of priorities?

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My children’s school has no locked doors, no buzzers, no security cameras and no parent BG check system. None.

We sign in at the office if we’re coming in to visit or to get them — by signing a piece of paper. No one checks my ID. (Certain children are flagged, due to custody or other issues, and those families are treated as exceptions — which they are.)

The school relies on a community model — if something just seems out of whack, alert the office or approach the parent — and it works. There are parents at the school all day long.

The statistics show these types of schools are just as safe as the locked-down ones. (Remember, Sandy Hook had a buzz-in system and locked doors. Columbine had armed security!)

On field trips, we keep the kids safe with the “two-deep” rule — always two (non-related) adults with kids that are not your own. Also proven to actually work.

The only exception is driving a field trip — that takes a lot more hoops, but they make sense (driver licence check, need extra insurance on your car, “two-deep” in the car.) We mostly use buses for field trips, though.

Some rules are important. Some are not. None of them are the law.

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Warren, it’s the same way with Girl Scouts. You now have to register (and pay the registration fee), have a background check AND references just to drive these girls on a field trip. It could be 10 minutes away, it could be 2 days away. Doesn’t matter. Most of these girls spend so much time together and with each others parents on a normal, routine, basis that this is just ludicrous. Not to mention, if one of our “registered” drivers can’t make it the day of the trip, we’re pretty stuck as to how to transport 16 girls in two cars.

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Thank you for posting this, Lenore, and thank you guys for engaging with me on the issue. It was good to vent and now I feel so HEARD. Thank you!

In the spirit of my deconstruction of the term “ma’am,” and because Natalie reminded me, I must say: “Bless ya’all’s hearts for all that terrific feedback.”

Natalie, you’re right, we do use “bless her heart” as the first line of third party trash talk (“bless Lorena’s heart, she’s just too busy and she’s acting thick as mud today”) but, delivered directly, it can ALSO mean: “awwwww, you are so sweet!”) A blessing on one’s heart is sometimes pronounced to mean “all is well.” But often, you will find, it is used to say “Go to hell. Go directly to hell, I know you are anyway even though I am blessing you, I KNOW you are still going to hell.” In that case, what one might hear would be: “Ma’am? Bless your heart, you forgot to paste the sticker back in the log book…”

In the end, we saw some great art and I am proud to say no one in my group was lost or robbed or molested or anything other than well-chaperoned. My son and I are both very happy I was there and, bless his heart, a few days later he invited me back for Career Day!!

>>always two (non-related) adults with kids that are not your own. Also proven to actually work.<<

Why "non-related?" No snark intended here; I'm just wondering why it is that it's considered "dangerous" for two related adults (say, siblings, or a husband-and-wife team) to chaperone a field trip, or lead a Scout/Guide/Campfire Kids group together.

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Please, how do you get volunteers at all? This all blows me away. All we ask for is valid driver licenses if there’s driving involved. Otherwise whoever turns up goes, provided there’s enough room on the bus. We did once leave a parent behind at the museum, and that was embarrassing, but luckily they found it hilarious.

No need for background checks for a day trip. Most schoolies trips, too many kids around for a perv to get up to anything anyway, and its usually like herding cats:-) .

Actually, right now, I would settle for: If it breathes, and appears to be a carbon-based life form, and is over, say, four feet tall (so it looks sort of like an adult of the species) then it goes….

We have almost no restrictions and we still have trouble filling volunteer spaces at times because, darn it, parents have lives…..why would y’all make it so hard on yourselves?

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I completely agree with Warren about parents going on strike, and that’s essentially what I did this year. My kids’ new school principal instituted a background check requirement for field trip chaperones, and I decided that I refuse to be treated like a criminal just to accompany my own child on a field trip.

I suspect I wasn’t the only one, as the calls for drivers and chaperones seemed to get more desperate with each field trip this year (it’s a small private school with no buses). I feel bad that it seemed to be the same parents chaperoning each field trip, but oh well. Incidentally, this same principal was run out of the school after just one year, so maybe I’ll approach the new principal about this.

@hineata: “…and is over, say, four feet tall (so it looks sort of like an adult of the species)”

Four feet???! I was five feet when I was 11, so even that sounds minuscule for an adult to me… Sorry, no offense, I’m just a little perplexed here 🙂

“Why “non-related?” No snark intended here; I’m just wondering why it is that it’s considered “dangerous” for two related adults (say, siblings, or a husband-and-wife team) to chaperone a field trip, or lead a Scout/Guide/Campfire Kids group together.”

The implication is that husband-wife, parent-child, or whatever relationship, will conspire to get up to no good and/or cover for each other if one of them does. Sick, sick, sick way of thinking.

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Judy, your deconstruction of our Southern-isms was perfect! I’m in the Dallas area, and I bet my kids’ schools use that exact same sticker badge system.

At my daughter’s middle school (7th and 8th graders), I have to sign in and get a badge to walk ***10 feet*** to the glassed-in administrative office to sign my child in and out of school. Apparently parents can’t walk 10 feet in a public space without having had a background check and signing in. I have to show my driver’s license to two sets of people as well.

My son, a high school student, asked me to bring him a notebook one day. I had to sign in at the front desk and get a badge, walk to the counselor’s office for his grade, sign in AGAIN, sign another form to leave the notebook, then sign back out again at the counselor’s office and again at the front desk. It took me over 15 minutes to drop off a forgotten notebook. I told my son NEVER AGAIN could I bring him anything. It was ridiculous. Talk about “security theater!”

>>The implication is that husband-wife, parent-child, or whatever relationship, will conspire to get up to no good and/or cover for each other if one of them does. Sick, sick, sick way of thinking.<<

But, that's just more worst-first, guilty-until-proven-innocent, kind of thinking. Besides, two people who are just friends, but not related, could do the same thing if they really wanted to, but since both of these hypothetical people would have passed a background check anyway, what are the chances that they'd even want to "get up to no good?" So, I think that two background-checked people who happen to be married or related, should be treated exactly the same way as two background-checked people who aren't. Besides, there are so many holes in the system–I mean, suppose Sally and Sam were just dating, but decided to become Scout leaders together? Would they have to switch to separate groups when they got married, or just when they started living together? What if they decided to live together, but not get married? What if they got married, and complied with the rules (so, Sally worked with the Beaver Scouts, and Sam with the Cub Scouts, or something), and then they got divorced? Could they be Scout leaders together again, since they're no longer married? There are just too many holes in this rule to make it remotely practical.

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If it’s assumed that all parents are closet child molesters, I don’t understand why the school sends all the kids home at the end of the day. I mean, good grief, they’re giving these horrible parents ACCESS to not only their own children but their children’s friends! Couldn’t the school be held liable for that? Keep them at school 24/7, where everyone is protected and safe, and let the parents look at them through the window…that’s the only solution.

>sarcasm off<

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I’m SO glad our school still maintains some common sense. I love the ladies in our school office. Not only do they know me by name, but they know my kids and who their teachers are (at least were, this year, school got out today), but they also know the names of my kids not enrolled in school yet. Granted, I’ve been on the PTA board for a couple of years and do a lot of volunteer work there, but even then, we don’t have to do a background check or fingerprints or anything like that. Just sign in and go.

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I would have been tempted to pull my kid for the day, drive to the museum and “happen” to meet the school group there.

The non-related part is a bit ridiculous, I fully admit it — it’s a legal CYA.

But “two-deep” works really well, as it protects both the kids (from the extremely rare event of abuse) and the volunteers (from the also rare false or blown-out-of-proportion report.)

The Scouts here in Canada pratise this rigorously, after a sex-abuse cover-up scandal involving a number of leaders and boys in the 70s and 80s recently came to light (the Scouts hid the records and did not report the abuse!)

They changed a lot of things — most were ridic security theatre, but two-deep and a clear reporting policy (aka “tell the cops when you’re supposed to tell them you idiots”) do make sense.

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……..I’m SO glad our school still maintains some common sense. I love the ladies in our school office……..

We need to show some appreciation for this. I’m being serious. There are many schools that haven’t given into the ‘prison yard security’ or turn into a bunch of mindless zelots. Without a doubt they are being pressured into doing so. Lets support them and help them resist this. This also strengthens the community.

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Holy poo. LOL. If I were her I would have told her to stick her system where the sun don’t shine, and then met the kids at the museum.

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I worked at an electronics company in Sunnyvale back in the ’80s, and our company partnered with a couple of schools in the area. I went into classrooms to do interactive computer demonstrations, helped out with a Halloween carnival, and chaperoned half a dozen elementary schoool kids around the San Francisco Zoo one day. I have no children, much less children who attended either of those schools; I was a random adult who worked for a local business, and I was allowed to interact with dozens of kids without ever having had a background check. Same with a lot of other employees of my company, and other companies in the area who had similar programs.

Nothing ever happened. No one was ever hurt or molested (kids or adults [smirk]) and no one ever suggested that there might be a problem.

If it was safe then (in a much more violent time) to let random members of the community help out at school and off-school-property functions, then surely it’s just as safe now to let parents help out. All the background checks and buzzing in and “No you can’t pick up your kid because your car isn’t right up next to the cone” crap we’re seeing now is security theater, not real security. None of this makes our kids safer; it’s just the people in charge showing the public that they’re Doing Something. Whether that something actually accomplishes anything is irrelevant.

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Just a thought (and I’ll admit I did not read all of this because it is rather long)

Couldn’t one get around this by simply going to the museum and just happening to go to all the same exhibits as their kid?

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I don’t have kids myself, but I weep for our children’s future with all this bureaucratic baloney. What kind of society are we going to leave for them and their own children to live/work in when they are adults?

But Angie, it’s DIFFERENT now. We live in DANGEROUS times and kids are just not safe anymore, with so many perverts running around. You just CAN’T do that anymore, with the way the world is now. (sarcasm heavy and used liberally)

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I would love to see an article about the ridiculous rules the military forces on parents.For example my children must be directly supervised (I must be able to see them) whenever we go out of the house until they are both 8 years old. Even then until they are both 12 they must have “easy access” to a parent or babysitter. When 12 the oldest can stay home alone with telephone access to us for a set amount of time. When they are older they can babysit as long as they take a special class. this isnt even touching on the craziness of requiring already background checked soldiers to get a background check to read to kids in a classroom in an on post school for an hour a week. If we don’t follow these rules then my husband could get in major trouble.

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Emily, the requirement that the two adults be unrelated is based on the fact that a husband cannot be compelled to testify against his wife, or a wife against her husband. In other words, if abuse occurs or is alleged, they want the other adult to testify against the accused, and not be exempt by reason of marriage. In many churches nowadays they won’t let a husband and wife teach a Sunday school class together, or take care of the nursery together, for this very reason. Many liability insurance policies require this rule to be enforced.

Yes, the world has gone stark raving mad.

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Holy DOODLE.

I am never going to complain about having to to into the school to sign my kid out for a dentist appointment again, because obviously it could be SO MUCH WORSE.

I chaperoned (we call it “volunteering” here in Toronto) a field trip with my daughter’s Grade 5/6 class earlier this year. I arrived with her in the morning; the ID check consisted of the teacher asking for an introduction from the kid of any adult she didn’t know (we had an auntie and a dad’s-girlfriend as well as the mums and dads) and having all the parent volunteers to introduce ourselves to the class. Then we all piled onto a school bus and drove to the school board’s outdoor ed centre. At the end of the day, the bus took us back to school. And the teacher thanked us for volunteering and pointed out to the kids that if it weren’t for parent volunteers, they wouldn’t be able to do field trips.

There were no background checks and no ID checks, and yet nothing terrible happened…

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Huh? My kid has been going to the bathroom by herself since long before kindergarten so I’m not sure where any unseen abuse is happening on school field trips during bathroom breaks. Even if, for some weird reason, you need to take all of your kids to the bathroom as a group, you are not going to go into the stall with them. You are either going to be waiting to use it yourself or hanging outside waiting for everyone to come out. A small confined area with a group of kids milling about waiting or hand washing is not a prime child abuse opportunity.

@Sylvia Rachel–That’s exactly the way it should be. I remember when I was in grade one, our class took swimming lessons at the recreation centre up the street from the school. After the first week, our teacher mentioned to the class that she needed more parent volunteers; especially fathers to supervise in the boys’ change room. I relayed that message to my parents that night at dinner, my dad called the school and spoke to my teacher, and he joined us on the next swimming excursion, without a background check or anything…..and NOTHING untoward happened that day at all. This was in 1990 or 1991; also in the middle of the “child molester” hype around O.J. Simpson, so life was more dangerous back then than it is now.

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Well, here is what I would have done. I would have gently said that I needed to, right then and there, take my son home for the day. Please call him out of the class, because he needs to come with me.

Then I would have driven down to the museum and met the teacher and class. Nope, I would not “be with” that group, we just happen to be looking at the same things. And yes, we know some of the kids.

>>Well, here is what I would have done. I would have gently said that I needed to, right then and there, take my son home for the day. Please call him out of the class, because he needs to come with me.

Then I would have driven down to the museum and met the teacher and class. Nope, I would not “be with” that group, we just happen to be looking at the same things. And yes, we know some of the kids.<<

That's tempting, but realistically, if someone actually did that, I think the school officials probably wouldn't like it, and they'd probably be very vocal about it; if not right there in the museum, at school the next day. They'd either go after the mother, so the kid would end up in the crossfire, or they'd bully the kid, whether subtly or otherwise–maybe directly reprimanding/punishing him over his mother's stunt, or maybe other things, like giving him detention for talking in class, while another student might only get a warning. I know it's not fair, and I know that pulling the child out of school because of unfair treatment, and then taking him to the art museum isn't doing anything wrong, EVEN if said art museum happens to be the field trip destination, but the fact remains that it's easier to browbeat a ten-year-old kid, who you see for 30 hours each week, into thinking he's done something wrong, than it is to do the same to an adult who you only see intermittently.

I suspect that the teacher would have been happy that I met her at the museum. And, in my experience, would have been a better judge of things that the office staff. Had the teacher been doing this stuff, no, probably not what I would have done. But given this is office staff who, in my experience, tend to be very rigid people about rules, totally different issue unless my kid is late to school regularly or such.

Our school (kind of a charter homeschool with onsite classes) has everyone do a background check as part of yearly sign up.

What gets our principal putting his fingers in his ear and going “La, la, la!” while you talk is parents transporting kids who are not their own to field trips that require parent transportation. The issue is, that some of the parent teach classes for other kids, so when events arise, like an aviation day at the local airport, not all of the parents can transport their own kids. Add into that a legislative requirement that the school tries to meet using field trips, and you have some issues.

I didn’t actually have him saying “La, la, la” but he did say he didn’t want me to tell him more. Even though the field trip form doesn’t say that it must be parents only who transport the kids.

@CrazyCatLady–That’s a relief. I thought all the adults who worked at your kid’s school were similarly insane, but I’m at least glad to hear that the teachers are still reasonable. I had a few over the years who definitely weren’t. As for the (albeit loosely enforced) rule about parents only transporting their own kids on field trips, that’s another rule that looks good on paper, but doesn’t work in real life. Some parents don’t drive. Some parents can drive, but don’t own cars. Some families only have one car, which might be with the other parent that day, especially if the other parent works outside the home, and therefore needs transportation to and from work. Sometimes, even when there’s a vehicle for each adult in the house, those vehicles break down, or need to be taken in for check-ups. Some families have both parents working, so they might not be available for field trip driving duty. Also, some parents have more than one child, in more than one class, and what are they to do if Suzie’s grade one class is going to the zoo, while Tommy’s grade three class is going to the planetarium, on the same day?

know what’s even more ironic? When I was in elementary school, there was always a unit about the environment, usually around Earth Day, and there was almost always some mention about how carpooling (as well as walking, biking, and public transit) was more environmentally friendly than each person driving their own separate vehicle everywhere. So, what’s the deal? Has the public school system stopped teaching kids that, or do they continue to say it in class, while encouraging parents to do the exact opposite, in the name of “safety?”

@Papillo – so was I, actually, LOL! (5 foot at age 11, I mean).

I guess I just didn’t want to leave out the small among us – one of my girl will be pushing it to ever get to five feet. :-).

Also, frankly some days we are desperate enough for helpers that we would probably consider a good sheep dog, or an Alsatian. Anything accustomed to crowd control. And most of those don’t reach four foot at the shoulder, so maybe I should have lowered my height limit . Though I did once work with a good Irish wolfhound…… 🙂

Sadly, the chances of such helpers having valid driver licences is probably fairly slim…..

It’s a downright shame how it is now. *smh* I’m sure everyone here can relate to this:

When I was a child, my school was much more open to the public. We had lots of people in the community who would volunteer for different activities or who’d work in the school office. One of them was my neighbor who, along with others, would help the kids who were struggling in school & all the kids adored & affectionately referred to as “Mrs. I” rather than her full surname. While she was a parent with kids who had already grown up, she continued to work there for many years. No background check, no ID, and no children were put in danger.

The schools even encouraged not just parents but people in the community to get involved in helping out there, whether it was simply part-time administrative work in the office (which my mother did when I was very young), being a chaperone on a field trip, or helping out with different activities at school.

Schools today are requesting the same thing, BUT FIRST “we request that you submit to a background check – at your expense, a photo ID taken by us, provide an up to date driver’s license or state ID card, blood sample, DNA profile, family medical, criminal, & psychological history, etc., etc.” With so many rules and regulations is, is it any wonder why today’s adults don’t even bother to volunteer in the first place? And who ultimately suffers in the end? Certainly not our precious children! (sarcasm)

Here’s another question: what happens re: these BG checks if you are a peaceful activist, or a journalist, who has been arrested at a protest when the cops overstep?

Because of your commitment to freedom, democracy and holding governments accountable through journalism, are you no longer allowed to visit your child’s school?

As you can tell, I have major issues with even the idea of a BG check. What are we checking? In Canada, the checks flag you if you’ve ever been arrested (even if no charges were laid), ever been acquitted, sometimes if you’ve been a court witness!

How many schools look farther than the flag?

@hineata: http://resources21.kb.nl/gvn/NOMA01/NOMA01_AA171198_X.jpg ?

@Cin I do not know where in Canada you are from, but in Ontario, the school does not see anything other than a letter from the police, that did the check. The letter simply states whether you are allowed or not allowed to be a volunteer. Not all criminal history excludes you, only cetain offenses will. It is a pain in the ass, because it requires two seperate trips to the cop shop. And it cannot be any cop shop, it has to be the one nearest the school. Even if it is the OPP, still has to be the detatchment closest to the school. For a rural community that usually means 2 afternoons off work. One to apply, the other to pick it up. Because your spouse isn’t allowed to pick it up for you. So for a one day school trip, that a co worker and I went on, the financial cost of volunteering for one day isn’t just the one day off anymore.

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Why put up with this crap? Take your kid out of the school, drive him to the museum yourself, and don’t send him back to that prison the next day.

@Warren “Well teachers can go on strike, why don’t the parents do the same thing. Stop volunteering, helping and donating, untill the school system comes back to reality.”

No, you have to hit the school where it hurts. Strike by keeping your kids out of school. Schools get money based on how many children are in attendance. THAT will hurt them – parents not volunteering just makes things easier for them, because they don’t have to do background checks and all that other bs.

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Note that Judy Safern’s original complaint was not with the system requiring a background check, but with the incompetent administration of the system. The real error here is treating the computer system as infallible, in the face of evidence that it has failed (note her evidence that the system had recognized her shortly before).

But, no public employee ever got in trouble for following the most asinine rule to the letter. How many valuable resources are lost because of this kind of mindless bureaucratic posturing?

Given today’s litigation environment, some relatively useless processes are demanded by insurers, but we are, more and more, elevating the most inane outpourings of the bureaucratic mind to the level of holly writ.

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Judy, I hope you do a follow up with the principal or even the superintendent.

Seriously, I agree with the first post, you are doing them a FAVOR. It seems the schools are always short on volunteers. The least they can do is have faith in those they see on a weekly basis! Otherwise, tell them you won’t be going through such a hassle again! (Although, I know you actually really wanted to go on this one.)

@Papillo – OMG! Why didn’t we think of that! So much for teaching the ‘bright’ kids…. :-).

I’ll never have transport hassles again 🙂

@Hineata: LOL 😀

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Hey, guy from Europe here.

I’ve just got a question, because I’ve read some things about parents often chaperoning for field-trips in the US and I just wanted to ask: How many children are there that they need extra helpers? Now, my schooling ended just some years ago and I can’t remember ever having more than two teachers with us on field trips (in classes of about 30 children). But maybe you mostly do field trips year-wise, so if there’s 100 kids, you’d probably need some volunteers.

Otherwise, concerning the article: That sounds completely stupid to me. I mean, just thinking that you can only enter your child’s school after ringing? And then you need some badge? Sounds very over the top.

Heads up! 🙂 ciil

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I am baffled by the secretary’s complete lack of common sense in this situation. I live just east of Toronto, Canada and was in a similar situation at the start of the school year. I showed up to volunteer in my son’s class who is in Senior Kindergarten but the secretary couldn’t find a copy of my background check on file. I had been a volunteer the previous year so she was totally fine with letting me in and simply asked me to drop off a copy the next time I volunteered. We don’t get buzzed in. When the secretary is on lunch break, a couple of grade 8 students are left in charge to handle visitors and students coming in and out. Perhaps it’s more relaxed because it’s a small school (less that 300) and a lot of the same moms come in to volunteer. I feel blessed that I don’t have to go through the same rigour that people have described to help chaperone activities at our school.

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Dear mamas, go on the field trip with your kid.

I never like to hand out parenting advice. Even when someone comments that I “must know so much” because I have four children. Honestly … each of my boys is so different that my hubby and I are constantly looking at each other and shrugging when faced with a new question to answer or problem to solve. It is still trial and error, even four babies in.

But, one thing I have learned in the past 13 years is to stay involved … with their school, with their activities, with their friends . That’s advice I’m happy to share.

The secret is they want you to see what their school life is like. (Even my middle schoolers ask if I can chaperone events and field trips.) I don’t think you need to hover over your child and be in his classroom every day; that’s not really helpful for anyone. But, going to the school’s family events, eating lunch with him in the cafeteria every once in a while, or chaperoning a field trip can help you feel like a part of his world away from home.

Still, many parents are afraid of field trips. They imagine complete chaos and loud bus rides and being in charge of 15 children by themselves. Not one field trip I’ve been on has been chaotic. The teachers plan these things down to the last minute detail. They want everyone to have fun – and they don’t want to lose any children! Most of the time, you’ll be in charge of your own child and 2-3 more. Totally doable.

And yes, I know it is difficult to go on field trips if you work full-time outside the home, but if you’re able to use a personal day, or even a half-day, I promise it will be worth it.

field trip of my son

I’m not gonna lie; there will be a lot of kiddos with shrill, loud voices. And you might have to endure a Kidz Bop sing-along on the bus ride. But, there will also be unexpected rewards as a result of your chaperone duties.

  • You’ll have crazy-good quality time with your little one. I remember looking at my son several times during one of the field trips, and he was so proud to have me there. This was a special event his class had been looking forward to for months, and he loved having me be a part of it. It was a strangely unique (and wonderful) time because I could give my attention to him, instead of dividing it between multiple siblings. We had such FUN together, and now we have memories and pictures to help us relive these sweet Mommy-Son experiences.
  • You’ll get to see him interact with his school friends. I always wonder what my child’s attitude and personality are like when Mama is out of sight. We have control (most of the time!) over how our children speak and act in our homes, but once you send them off to school, it’s up to them to use manners and act like civilized little humans. At least that’s what you pray they do. Going on a field trip with your child’s class puts you on his turf, and lets you peek inside his peer world. You’ll get to observe his conversations and interactions with classmates, and you may just learn a few things about your little one’s social skills.
  • You’ll get to know his teacher better by being a part of her/his “team” for the day. The short conversations before school don’t really let you see the whole personality of your child’s teacher. Spending the day out and about with her and working together to ensure the kids have fun and stay safe allows for more interaction and camaraderie. I’ve always ended up with a better, more relaxed relationship with my boys’ teachers after I’ve chaperoned a trip with them.
  • You’ll go to some really awesome places! Museums, performing arts centers, dairy farms, zoos, historical forts, football stadiums, planetariums are just a few of my boys’ trips that come to mind. Most of our field trips have introduced us to new places in our area or places we didn’t know allowed public access – and given us ideas for future family activities! Bonus: Often these visits include a private tour or talk while the class is there, so the experience is a little “extra special” for the kids and adults who come via a school trip.
  • You’ll gain a new appreciation for your own child. This is especially true for extended or overnight field trips. Every child has little quirks and not-so-amazing parts of his personality, but never will you be so thankful that your child is the one coming home with you than after learning a little more about the kiddos in your chaperone group.

My most memorable field trip was with my kindergartener’s class last year. It was a walking field trip, so no bus ride. We went to the University of Florida football stadium and were escorted by student athletes around several areas of the stadium. I went on this field trip when my older two boys were in kindergarten, too, and have loved it every time. The kids were so excited to be in The Swamp, and the parents were excited to see the underbelly of it. It was so much FUN and I’m so glad I took the opportunity to experience this with my little guy.

If you’ve been hesitant to chaperone a field trip with your kiddo’s class, maybe this will encourage you to try it out. I promise the memories will be worth playing hooky from work!

field trip of my son

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This one got me – “They imagine complete chaos and loud bus rides and being in charge of 15 children by themselves. Not one field trip I’ve been on has been chaotic. ” I have to respectfully disagree with this one. I’ve lost track of the number of field trips I’ve gone on. I only have two kids but I’m a frequent flyer at the school. Nearly every field trip I have been on has had some level of chaos that ranged from mild to Lord of the Flies. This week I am going on a 7th grade field trip to a Renaissance Faire, I would prefer minor surgery sans anesthesia – I say this because I went on this same trip last year with my now 8th grader. It’s a 12 hour day from hell which includes a minimum of 4 hours on a bus. I do it any way because, I have tremendous respect for the teachers in our district. I have one child that likes me to attend and one who is ambivalent. I was hoping to skip this one but the teacher said she didn’t have enough chaperones so I’m going. One thing is certain, I will end that day with a profound love and respect for the teachers – that happens every time.

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I Volunteered for My Son’s Field Trip and Something Amazing Happened

field trip of my son

I generally don’t like dolling out parenting advice. But if there was one piece of advice I would give all mothers, it’s this: if you can, volunteer to go on just one field trip with your kid’s class. I did recently, and it was a ‘Eureka!’ moment.

I’ve never been good at making friends with other mothers at my children’s school, mostly because I never really tried. I have mom friends at my daughter’s school, but we were friends before we were mothers. At my son’s school, I’d say that I’m ‘friendly’ with a couple of moms. And by friendly, I mean I can make small talk at birthday parties, but it’s not like we go out for drinks or meet up for coffee. I don’t even have their phone numbers.

I’m not oblivious to the fact that there are mother’s at my daughter’s school who are quite cliquey and often go out with each other and their kids in one big group. And, let’s be honest, there’s a point where it’s just too damn late to join in, or be welcomed in. That point happened about five years ago, when I gave up entirely on making new mom friends with the mothers in my daughter’s grade.

I didn’t think I cared that I didn’t become close friends with any of my daughter’s classmate’s mothers. But I think I care more than I care to admit. Because it bothers me…almost constantly.

At my daughter’s private school, most parents drive through the roundabout, drop their kid off at the school entrance, and leave. Repeat again in the afternoon. So I’ve never really made any new mom friends, because I never had to get out of the car. Sure there were many opportunities to volunteer, as class reps, or at their used clothing store in the school, but those volunteering opportunities are year-long commitments, and as a working mother, I couldn’t commit to the many hours they were asking for. Even when an e-mail went out, asking for volunteers to go on class field trips, I never went. Why? Because there is an entire contingent of mothers who  jump at the chance to go on field trips, quicker than gossip spreads in high school. Before I could even finish reading an e-mail asking for volunteers, another e-mail would arrive in my inbox, telling me, ‘All volunteer spaces have been taken.’ Some mothers, apparently, have rapid-fire fingers, that’s for sure. So even when I tried to fit in, it just never happened.

So when an e-mail arrived, asking for volunteers to go on a field trip with my son’s JK/SK class, I signed up. First, they were going to the zoo, which I thought sounded fun. Second, I never actually thought I’d ‘get in.’ Turns out, in public school, or at least in my son’s class, the teachers are more than happy to take all the volunteers they can get. I was in. And when I told my son I was going on his field trip, he was ridiculously happy, which in itself, is reason to volunteer on a class field trip.

Yet, I was terrified to go on this field trip. First, I am far from confident when taking care of other people’s children. Even though it turned out I only had to take care of two kids, one of which was mine, I still worried. Second, since my son’s caregiver usually drops him off and picks him up at school, so I wasn’t even sure if the teachers knew that my son had a mother. I would, practically, be meeting his teachers for the first time, just as the school year is winding down. Lastly, and I feel silly about this in retrospect, I was nervous about hanging out with other parent volunteers. I worried that they all knew each other. I worried we wouldn’t have anything in common to talk about. I worried I’d feel left out and the day would be very long and lonely.

To be honest, I was dreading the field trip, asking myself why the hell didn’t I volunteer on a field trip that was just half a day, instead of this full day at the zoo. I thought of a million reasons to bail, but my son’s enthusiasm that I was coming along far outweighed my urge to bail. But something happened on this field trip. The parent volunteers were put in groups of four parents, each of us having to take care of two kids. My group of parent volunteers were the most friendly women I have met in a very long time, perhaps in my entire adult life.

Somehow, the stars aligned that day and I immediately bonded with the three other mothers also volunteering, so much so that we chatted the entire day and helped each other with all the children in our group. At one point, we were so involved in our conversation, we actually lost the kids in our group, but let’s not get stuck on that moot point. (They were all fine. But who knew that a pack of four- and five-year-olds could run like they are training for the Olympics?)

field trip of my son

Mostly, as we watched the kids, we talked, and talked, and talked, as if we had known each other for years and not hours. The day flew by.

Sure, my kid was thrilled that I went along and he loved sitting on my lap on the bus ride home, but I suppose it has always weighed heavily on me that I didn’t make more of an effort to be friends with my daughters’s friend’s moms. On the ride back in the school bus, the mothers in my group and I exchanged phone numbers. A part of me thought, ‘They’re never going to call. But it was nice to meet them,’ in the same way I always see the same people at cocktail parties and we promise that we will get together…yet we never do.

But…they did call. And I picked up their calls. In fact, I’m meeting one of the mothers I met for dinner this week and I am ludicrously excited about this new blossoming friendship. So, yes, if you’re feeling like you’re not in the ‘Mom Club’ or have a hard time meeting other mothers, take just one day out of your life and volunteer on a class field trip. Don’t worry about missing work. Don’t worry that you won’t know anyone. Volunteer, not only for your child, but do it for yourself. Maybe it was because we went to the zoo, but I can now happily say I’ve found myself in a great pack, much like animals, but with mothers instead.

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Helpful Tips for Chaperoning School Field Trips

Learn how to be an informed chaperone on your child's class trip, while also doing your part to keep the kids safe, engaged, and under control..

Being a parent chaperone on your child's school field trip can be a wonderful experience for both of you. Here are some practical tips for being a responsible and effective volunteer for the class.

Know the Plan Before you leave, discuss the itinerary, logistics, and any chaperone guidelines with the teacher in charge. If you can, get this information ahead of time and familiarize yourself with it before the trip. Ask how many kids you will be responsible for (usually 5-10, depending on their ages and your destination) and learn their names as soon as you can. Make sure you're clear on meeting and meal times — especially for going home — and if you're responsible for your own admission charges. You should also find out if any of the children have a medical or behavioral problem you should be aware of and what the ramifications might be. Be clear on the school's disciplinary policy and what to do in case a child gets lost. Ask the teacher if there are certain exhibits, shows, or displays that should not be missed.

Come Prepared Bring enough cash for food, extras, or admission fees. Though you're not responsible for paying for your charges, you never know who might forget her money or lunch. Throw a few band-aids and some bottled water in your bag, too. Dress appropriately for the destination and wear comfortable shoes. A cell phone can be an excellent helper if you have one, but keep it turned off.

Show Up Believe it or not, one of the biggest problems teachers face is parents who cancel the morning of the trip or simply don't show up. If you have to cancel, try to give the teacher as much notice as possible and help her find a replacement. Many teachers will book more chaperones than needed for this very reason.

Be Focused Remember your primary concern is to make sure kids are safe and help them enjoy themselves. Model good behavior and professionalism — after all, your group is an ambassador for your school. Avoid discussing your child's progress or other irrelevant topics with the teacher during the trip. By riding the bus, following the tour, and eating with your charges, you not only help maintain their safety but keep them involved in the trip. If you have other children, leave them at home. Avoid smoking in front of the students. Pay attention, be on time, and follow directions. Keep your voice at a moderate level and be courteous.

Establish a Rapport While you need to keep your group under control, remember this is not a military exercise. Be firm about important issues — running off from the group, horseplay, behavior that bothers others — but let minor infractions slide. After all, learning is supposed to be fun! When a child breaks a rule, try to pull him aside rather than reprimand him publicly, but don't be afraid to discipline when necessary. While it's important for you to be respected, you don't have to be liked.

Staying Safe If you stick with the group and keep kids away from potential hazards, you should be in good shape. Take frequent head counts, particularly when moving to a new location. Learn the names and faces of each child in your care, and be sure they know you too. When your group travels, space adults out so that there's always a grownup in front, behind, and in the middle of the group. When you reach your destination, find out where you can go for first aid and the location of the bathrooms, but be sure to let the teacher know before you take any child away from the group. Be clear on what to do in the event of an emergency.

Help Teach Engage your charges in the trip by asking thought-provoking questions that help them discuss what they see, rather than test what they know. If you can, involve all the students in your group — the shyer ones may take a bit longer to participate in discussions. Be careful not to interrupt the guide or teacher and try not to contradict any information they convey.

Stay Positive Your enthusiasm and interest may be infectious. Keep the kids as engaged as you can, participate in the activities, and support the teacher and/or guides' decisions. If you do disagree with something they say, speak to them about it privately. Compliment kids on good behavior and thank guides for their help.

Keep in Good Communication If there's a serious problem, let the teacher know as soon as you can. While you should discipline where you can, let the teacher be the ultimate boss.

Questionable Choices in Parenting

Laughing at life as a parent so they don't commit me

field trip of my son

I Survived My Son’s First Field Trip

June 28, 2013 by amushro

When my son’s chi chi preschool informed me that in order for him to keep his spot in school for the fall he needed to attend the summer session, I was livid, furious, irate! How dare they take away precious summertime with my boy of long days at the pool, running wild at the splash park, and frequent trips to the beach. How dare………oh wait, they’re going to have pony rides and trips to a petting zoo. Dang, can I go?

The summer calendar the school’s activities looked way better than me filling up the water table 375 times in one morning. Plus the kid would probably be sick of my face by mid-June. So I conceited and sent him on his preschool way.

I knew the kids were going on field trips this summer, but Mommy Brain struck again because I never thought about the logistics of how the group of three and four year olds would actually get to the field trip destinations. Obviously they would load all of the munchkins on a HUGE yellow bus. You know the kind of bus that doesn’t have seat belts. The same buses that are involved in 26,000 accidents a year, but who’s counting?

TShirt

My sweet little boy! How could I let my three year old on a bus? He won’t go! He will be terrified!

I need to prepare him because if I know anything, it’s my boy .

Days before the trip and all the way to school that day, I reminded him he would be riding the big yellow bus with his friends. They would go see a puppet show and have lunch at the theater. And when he gets off the bus, Mommy would be waiting for him. And I bet Mommy will have a treat. Yes, a treat.. ice cream. Lots of ice cream…

Walking to his classroom on the day of the field trip, I was still chanting over and over “you’re going to go on a big bus today! Won’t that be amazing?”  Before we made it very far, a teacher told us to just head out to the buses because they were ready to leave.

I can’t do that! This boy is a man of routine and he doesn’t like when things change.

He will be terrified and burst into tears if I walk him over to the bus and then leave! 

This isn’t how it was supposed to work. No, no, no!

I was supposed to drop him off in his class, like usual, and run out the front door.

This will be a disaster!

We walked up to the big yellow bus, he let go of my hand, and stood in line with his class. What the…? Wait, what just happened? That little traitor didn’t even look back. No tears. No hesitation. Just a big goofy grin and off he went to wait in line with his classmates all decked out in their blue school shirts.

If there is one thing I know. it’s my boy. And if there is one thing that will continue to surprise me, it’s my boy

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June 28, 2013 at 8:15 am

I think every parent who goes through a first field trip should get one of those shirts, lol! I remember my daughter’s first one – I was SO nervous for her! She didn’t think anything of it! 😉

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June 28, 2013 at 9:08 am

My heart was beating out of my chest at the mere mention of the school bus. I think I’ll drive my kids to school AND pick them up because, obviously, they won’t be able to hang on the bus…right? 😉

Traitors. They’re all traitors.

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June 28, 2013 at 10:59 am

Kids always leave the parents to worry lol. 🙂

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June 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I cant wait until my daughters first one this fall

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June 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm

This post was pretty funny!

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June 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm

wow, good for you! i will be taking my son for a zoo trip in a camp soon. he’s 4 and I hope it’s a smooth one for us.

June 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

I’m sure you had a blast with fellow parents during the trip.

Vision * Leadership * Solutions

7 Rules for chaperoning a school field trip with your child

  • Field Trip , Roy Kessel , School , School bus , Shedd Aquarium

field trip of my son

It is always interesting watching parents on a field trip. Presumably the reason that you accompany your child is that you would like to enjoy the opportunity to spend time together and experience that adventure together. I went with my son’s 4 th grade class to the Shedd Aquarium today and supervised him and three of his friends.

But yet, when I listened to some of the parents waiting to board the school buses and as they sit among the noisy 4 th graders, you would think that this experience is akin to a torture chamber. Seriously. You do not have to volunteer for this duty if you hate it that much.

So with that backdrop, here are some tips that you can follow next time you agree to chaperone a trip (and some for parents who do not accompany their child):

  • SMILE �this is supposed to be fun.  You are not an armed guard at a correctional facility.  Enjoy the time with your child and his/her friends (and if you cannot enjoy it, at least pretend for your child’s sake).
  • SPEND TIME TOGETHER �Far be it from me to tell anyone not to check email or look at their phone but some of the parents on the trip barely engaged with their own child, much less any of the other children in the group
  • BUT GIVE THEM THEIR SPACE �Some parents hovered over their children and forced” their children to sit with them on the bus instead of letting them hang out with their friends.
  • EXPLORE �Kids love looking around.  Field trips do NOT need a lot of rules.  Let the kids enjoy the experience and have some independence as they look around.  They do not need to have a leash around them.
  • RELAX �You need to let yourself enjoy it as well.  So yeah, it will be noisy.  But you should have known that.  They are 4 th graders.  On a school bus.  On the way to a field trip.  No school.  This is not a library.  As long as they are not hurting each other, let it go.
  • ENJOY �You took a day away from everything else you could have been doing at home or at work.  Take the time to enjoy it and learn something for yourself.  Get to know some of your children’s friends.  Get to know some of the other parents.  Get to know your child’s teacher.  You will learn more from that one day than hearing 50 stories from your child.
  • SMILE �Again!!!

If you don’t like these rules, do your child a favor and stay home!! J

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The Benefits of Chaperoning Your Kid’s Field Trip

Yesterday, even though I didn't get a stitch of work done during my normal "office hours", I spent my day in what I consider to be a very productive fashion — I was a chaperon on my 13 year old son's school field trip.

After originally signing up to attend the field trip as a parent volunteer, I began to have second thoughts. The itinerary was ambitious.  We were to gather at school early to attend 8:00 mass for All Saints Day and then embark on the trip.  Our destination was the Sierra Endangered Cat Haven, an innovative park dedicated to the preservation of wild cats (think panthers and leopards, not calicoes and tabbies).  Since my son attends a private school, most of our field trips involve parent drivers, as we do not have school buses.  So signing on for this trip meant playing "bus driver" for a load of thirteen-year-old young men.  Our normal trips are within the city limits, but this trip involved an hour-long drive up a windy road into the foothills.  When some of the other mom/drivers started discussing the need to bring ginger ale, anti carsickness medication and plastic bags (just in case…), I began to have feelings of trepidation.  But my son's excitement about the planned trip strengthened my resolve to "get over it" and have a good attitude about the day.

I am so glad I attended this particular field trip.  The day was beautiful, with sunny skies and perfect temperatures.  My charges were angelic during the drive — thanks to my car's on-board DVD player and a good movie.  I learned so much about the topic and had a wonderful day with my child.

The great experience left me pondering the benefits of taking time out from our work schedules to volunteer for these types of school events.  Fortunately, since I work from home and am my own boss, I could rearrange my schedule to make time for this field trip.  Others may not be so fortunate, but there are also many parents who simply avoid being a chaperon at all costs.  For that reason, I want to share with you some of the reasons you should consider volunteering your time to go on a field trip:

  • You will learn something new . I'm far from being a zoologist, but I now finally understand the difference between a panther, a cheetah and a leopard. On other field trips, I've toured the California missions, watched whales, seen plays, and toured museums. I've learned along with my children and experienced the joy of visiting new places with them.
  • You will have an opportunity to get to know your child's teacher. School field trips afford interested parents an excellent chance to spend "quality time" with the person who spends so many waking hours with our children — their teacher. Away from the classroom and with a more relaxed environment, you can learn a great deal about how your child is interacting with his teacher and peers in the classroom. Seeing and spending time with a teacher outside the walls of a classroom offers you an excellent insight into his or her personality. Additionally, when you volunteer your time to go on a field trip your teacher receives the message that you are interested in and prioritize your child's education.
  • You can network with other families. One of the most beneficial aspects of attending field trips for me is getting to know the other parents and students on the trip. These are my child's peers — the people who will host him for parties and social events now and in the future. Meeting and speaking with other parents helps give me an insight into how they parent and supervise children. This has been a helpful background to have as my 16 year old son begins to embark on an active social life: I want to know where he will be and with whom. I have met and spent a great deal of time with many of his friends' parents and the kids themselves, often on field trips. I know in whom I can place my trust, and around whom I need to be wary — that makes my job as mom a little easier.
  • You will make precious memories with your child. This, in and of itself, is the major reason for setting aside work for a few hours and enjoying a field trip with your child. You may not make any money, but the memories of a great day together are precious. As my children march towards maturity, I increasingly look for opportunities to "hang out" with them. I've learned that there aren't any "field trips" in high school, so I intend to capitalize on my chances to share time with Adam and his classmates while I still can. Work can wait, but childhood won't.

So next time you receive that permission slip home from school, asking for you to consider volunteering to chaperon a field trip, think twice before you say no.  Sure, you may miss out on a meeting or two, but the things you'll learn, the people you'll meet, and the message of love you'll send to your child are a pretty productive use of your time.

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By Lisa Hendey

Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul . Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast . Visit her at LisaHendey.com .

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Why I'm eager to chaperone my son's class field trip | THE MOM STOP

As I write this, I’m preparing to wake at 4:15 a.m. — about seven hours from now. I’ll get myself dressed in the hours before dawn, grab a lunch I packed the night before from the refrigerator, and make sure I’ve got a pillow in tow and that my 11-year-old son is awake and ready to go. 

In just a handful of hours, it will be field trip time. I’ll spend about six of the next 24 hours on a bus packed with excited fifth-graders as we drive to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta and back home again. 

I’ve been to the aquarium, and while I know it will be fun, that’s not why I’m going. I know the bus will likely be loud and I may be bleary-eyed from the lack of sleep. But this is one of the first major field trips my son and his class have been on since before the pandemic began. The last field trip that I can remember chaperoning for him was likely a trip to the fire station to see the fire trucks when he was still in kindergarten. 

And my boy will be in middle school next year. I know the remaining opportunities to go on field trips with him will be few and far between — and the times he’ll actually want me to go with him will likely be even fewer. And so when the chance came up recently to go as a chaperone, and my son said it was fine if I went with him, I quickly signed the form. 

More: My eager teen driver has a not-so-eager parent | THE MOM STOP

When I was a kid, my mother worked full time, much the way that I do now, only she was a single mom for most of my childhood.

Because she was an occupational therapist, it was hard for her to get away from her work because she always had a full slate of patients. It wasn’t often that she could come to the school for class parties or school events, or to chaperone a field trip. But I do remember a time she did chaperone — it was a first-grade trip to the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis. I don’t remember much about the trip, other than there was a “shrunken head” inside the museum and I almost got my own head crushed when I fell off a see-saw at a playground that day. But I also remember my mom was there on the trip, and how proud I was that she could serve as a chaperone. 

That was the kind of mom I knew I wanted to be, long before I had kids. I wanted to be the kind of parent who could go to school to read to the class when volunteers were needed. I wanted to be the parent who helped decorate for a class party or came to lunch with the kids “just because.” 

And for the most part, I’ve been blessed to have a fairly flexible career that has allowed me to be there when I needed to be at my kids’ school events. No, I have not been on every field trip, nor would I really want to. But I’ve been to my fair share. And even though the pandemic put so much on pause for way too long for so many students, thankfully normalcy has returned.

Field trips are back. And tomorrow, when the bus departs my son’s school, we’ll be on our way, although perhaps a bit sleepy to start. But I know the effort will be worth it — because I’ll be making memories with my son, as long as he still wants me there.

Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at [email protected].

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The Absolute Awesomeness of Field Trips

I am writing this post from the mountains of northern Thailand, ten days into a four-week adventure with my seven-year-old son and husband. This is the first serious travel we've done with our son -- the first time in a country where we don't speak the language, don't have family, and don't understand many of the customs. Pre-child, I was a traveler.

I'd really like to slow down a little and surrender to a day at the pool -- and visit fewer temples and markets. These concessions, however, are unequivocally worth it. It's worth it to see my son experience a very different culture and learn about himself through this carefully planned field trip.

And that's what's loud on my mind these days: field trips! The awesome unique power of field tripping! Being a mother has made the perpetual teacher brain even harder to turn off. I can't stop thinking about how to maximize the learning opportunities everywhere. Prior to our trip, at the end of the school year, my son did a report on Thailand. Then, on the airplane, (I'm embarrassed to admit this) I made my son list everything he wanted to learn about Thailand. Yes, we are making a K-W-L .

And then, after several days of touring Buddhist temples and observing monks, I was spontaneously compelled to make a Venn Diagram and we compared Buddhism to our own religious tradition.

In the Field

Experiencing the Venn Diagram in this setting was absolutely thrilling because what happened was that my son found many more similarities than differences. Beautiful! I'd never seen the Venn Diagram as a tool for building world peace. Sure, we could have done this in a classroom, but to do it here and to learn in this way, I know the impact will be long lasting and have a unique impact.

So maybe we can't take our students across the world, but life-changing field trips can be done within our own cities and states. Last year, Lorena, a student I taught 15 years ago, contacted me through Facebook. She was in her final year of college and plans to be a teacher. She was in the third grade class that I took on a three-day trip to Yosemite National Park in the middle of winter. It was a magical trip and many of my students in Oakland, CA, had never seen snow. Lorena wrote, "You changed our lives with that trip. It's what made me want to be a teacher, to be able to give that same gift to other kids."

As a teacher, I sought all opportunities to get my students out of their familiar surroundings and into different neighborhoods, cities, and natural environments. We also did the usual museum trips and science center stuff, but I loved the trips which pushed them into unfamiliar territory.

Nudging them out of their comfort zones taught them about others as well as themselves. It helped them see the expansiveness of our world and perhaps inspired them to think about what might be available to them out there. Many of my students (all low-income, from deeply urban neighborhoods) had never left our city. I had many second graders who'd never seen the ocean, a 30-minute drive away.

So much happens on field trips: the learning is social, emotional, and academic. One year, my sixth-grade partner teacher and I took our 45 students to the Grand Canyon for almost a week. The academic content was connected to the science standards (landforms, erosion, etc.), and they learned a whole lot. But the social and emotional learning -- the bonding and connecting that happened on that trip -- was invaluable and definitely not something we could have replicated within the confines of the classroom.

Planning Ahead

Summer is a fantastic time for teachers to plan field trips. There are many opportunities that are free for schools if you sign up early enough. For the trips I did to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, we raised thousands of dollars and easily got donations. But start asking early!

Planning field trips in the summer is also a fun way to start thinking through curriculum and connecting the classroom learning to real experiences. And trips don't have to be all entertainment. Field trips that engage students in experiential learning are also powerful; they become fieldwork.

Today, we're off to feed and bathe elephants a a sanctuary for abused elephants . It was founded and is run by a tiny Thai woman who we've been reading about. She's almost single-handedly saving thousands of elephants in Thailand. When we return to our hotel, my son will add to his long list of "What I Learned" on the K-W-L.

What do you see as the impact of field trips? What are favorite field trips you've taken kids on? When planning field trips, what tips do you have for teachers? Please share your thoughts and ideas!

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10 learnings (and favorite memories) from my mother-son Scotland trip

Nothing beats a great golf trip — especially when it's a mother and her son.

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Nothing beats a great golf trip — and summer is the prime time to go experience someplace new .

Whether you’re planning an annual getaway with friends to a familiar spot for golf, or venturing to somewhere new to tee it up, taking in the culture, sights, and sounds of a different locale always produces great memories.

And, of course, playing new golf courses that you don’t normally see when home is the ultimate kicker.

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A golf trip unlike any other.

I recently traveled to the east coast of Scotland to play 10 days of golf with my 15-year-old son, Matthew. To say we had a great time would be an understatement — and the golf trip gave me some fond memories that I’ll cherish forever.

1. The courses

The courses were amazing, as we played some of the most iconic spots, including Royal Dornoch, West Berwick, and Cruden Bay. We also played some great courses that are a little less famous, including Durness — an amazing 9-hole course with a spectacular (and sometimes scary drive) — as well as Montrose.

2. The travel challenge

Learning to travel overseas takes patience and teamwork, but we got pretty good at this. Managing heavy suitcases and travel golf bags takes a good attitude, so when we had to shuffle our suitcase weight in the first airport, I had to laugh since I had never experienced it myself. The goal was to lighten the load as much as possible — which we did by losing so many golf balls on such difficult courses.

3. Driving on the opposite side of the road

Hug left was our motto. The challenge was fun, and a bit scary, but we made it — and I hope we didn’t offend too many Scotsmen along the way. My co-pilot was certainly helpful with directions, and for when I got way too close to the bushes on the left side of the road. The roads are narrow and the parking spots tiny… but we survived it all.

4. The hard ground

There were so many learning opportunities for my son during this golf trip. The ground is very hard compared to golf courses in the States, so learning to land the ball short and not expect the green to hold it was certainly new for him. I can’t tell you the amount of times I heard him simply ask me “ how? ” when the ball did something he wasn’t used to.

5. The fescue and gorse

Off the fairways can be a journey in Scotland, with fescue, gorse, super thick rough, and uneven hills all making life difficult for golfers. Learning to find your ball can be a frustrating process, and then taking your medicine by just punching back out to safety is a tough pill to swallow.

In most cases, trying to be aggressive by moving the ball down the fairway doesn’t work out too well, as the club often gets caught and twists the face — making the ball travel very short. Over time, you learn to take a lofted club, lean the weight and the shaft forward, and just steeply chop the ball out and back into play.

6. The wind

The wind was incredible! Cabot Highlands was beautiful and is a great course, but the whipping winds provided both of us with a tough challenge, to say the least.

Downwind was kind of fun, but still difficult. When hitting into the wind, it felt like we’d never get it to the green. I hit more 3-woods than I have in a long time, and Matt hit more 3-irons than usual. It was fun to watch his game evolve as he learned to better manage the crazy conditions.

7. The birdie challenge

Matt and I don’t really compete against each other, as we typically just play to have fun and try our best. But on this golf trip, we changed things up and had a birdie-eagle challenge — which Matt won by quite a bit.

It was fun to compete with him, see him take it so seriously, and to still root for another — while going head-to-head on friendly level. Matt had a couple of eagles, even driving par-4’s, which was really cool to see.

8. Time to talk

An underrated part of this entire golf trip was simply having time with my son, which gave us plenty of chances to walk and talk together. We talked about everything, from golf to life to having some silly moments, too.

9. North Berwick

We were able to play North Berwick with a friend of mine, who’s conveniently a travel expert and is very well-versed in golf courses. It was great to play with someone who knew the course so well, and who could talk about the history of the grounds. It was also fun to just have a friendly face to kick off our trip .

10. St. Andrews: The perfect finish

We had entered the lottery to play St. Andrews twice, but were unsuccessful those first two times. Since we were staying in St. Andrews, we both entered one last time on the final day of our golf trip, agreeing that, if I got in, he’d caddy for me, and if he got in, I’d caddy for him. Guess who got it? Not me, but my son. Perfect!

I did end up caddying for him, and it was so awesome. Watching him enjoy himself and use some of the lessons from the previous rounds was really cool, as he put together his best round of the whole golf trip.

Any parent/child trip is amazing, and this recent one with my son was a reminder to never wait or put it off: just plan it and go! The memories are ones that will stick with me every day, so I’m so appreciative of the time together.

For more tips from my Scotland golf trip (and all things golf) head over to my Instagram .

field trip of my son

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MomsLA

Why I Don’t Volunteer to Chaperone My Son’s Field Trips

By: Author Wendy Kennar

Posted on Last updated: November 10, 2020

Why I don't volunteer to chaperone my son's field trips

An Open Letter to the Parents of My Son’s Classmates:

The trip slips have gone home along with the sign-up for parent volunteers. You may be wondering why I don’t join you on the walking field trip to the museum. You may be wondering why, after the first walking field trip in the beginning of the year, I haven’t joined you on any subsequent trips. After all, you see me each morning taking my son to school. You see me each afternoon picking him up. You correctly assume I’m a stay-at-home mom with a fairly flexible schedule. You may begin to judge me — thinking me lazy. You may begin to make assumptions about me — I’m not up to the task of chaperoning a large group of children. You may begin to resent me — what makes me think I’m so special that I don’t have to help out. 

So, let me explain. 

You’ve heard it many times that often things aren’t what they appear on the surface. That’s the case here.

Yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom. But, truthfully, not by choice. I was a public school teacher for twelve years, so yes, I’m more than capable of chaperoning large groups of children on field trips. In fact, most of my career was spent teaching upper-grade students which means those class sizes were larger than what we see with our second grade children. I even took my fourth graders on a walking field trip to a park when I was eight months pregnant. So believe me, I can handle field trips.

It’s the walking I can’t handle. I left teaching at my doctor’s direction because I suffer from an autoimmune disease. I am retired due to a disability. I know, I look fine on the outside. The pain is on the inside. The pain is in my legs, primarily my left one. Sometimes I feel as if I have shackles around me, making each step a challenge. Sometimes, I feel as if my left calf is being squeezed by some evil giant set of pliers. If I pulled up my pant leg, you may notice that my left calf looks somewhat swollen. When it feels tight and hard, it often does look swollen. And that’s why my legs are usually covered up. 

An autoimmune disease means my body is attacking itself. It means I did nothing to bring this on. It’s not a result of any bad habits. And there’s no cure to make it go away. All I can do is try and treat it. Try to handle it the best I can each day. Because each day is different. 

I was diagnosed almost six years ago, so this is all Ryan knows. This is “normal” for him. And our family does what it can to accommodate my limitations.

I don’t want you to say you’re sorry. I don’t want your pity. I know that things could be much worse. In fact, before my official diagnosis doctors weren’t sure if this mystery condition of mine was cancer or leukemia or multiple sclerosis. So believe me, I know things could be worse. I am grateful they are not. But it still doesn’t make this easy for me. It’s not easy to admit there are things I can’t do anymore.

I’d like to go with Ryan and his class on the field trip. I know how stressful field trips are. I know how dependent teachers are for extra sets of eyes to help insure the safety of all the participating students. But I have come to the point where I admit I just can’t.

At the beginning of the year, I went with our class on the walking field trip to the library. After the class was safely back at school, I went home in tears. I was in intense pain for the rest of the week. And that was when I finally admitted to myself that I couldn’t volunteer on walking field trips any more.

Please know I appreciate you taking the time to accompany our class on their field trips. Thank you for helping to keep my son, and all the children, safe. 

And if I may — it’s not just me. I’ve learned that there are many who suffer “invisible disabilities.” Many of us have stories and reasons why we can or can’t do something. We’re often so quick to judge others; please don’t.

Wendy (Ryan K.’s mom)

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Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Thank you for writing this article. I also have an invisible disability..and daily tasks alone are hard, let alone handling my own child. When I was recently informed that my child was going to have his first school field trip, I was pained with guilt. As of late, I have been trying to justify going and to just endure my pain for however long I will need to for the sake of my child. I was googling whether it was better for parents to volunteer or not for school trips. I am also a SAHM. So I was honestly stricken with anxiety until I found your article. Thank you for this validation.

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This past Friday, I took the day off from work to be a chaperone on my sons school field trip. Is this how I would normally want to spend a day off? Nope. But what a great day!

The boys and I walked over 5 miles that morning at the fair and visited every single exhibit with farm animals that they had. We laughed. We joked. And most importantly, we had a lot of fun.

At some point in time during our trip, one of the boys asked if my father ever went on a field trip. One thing that I have realized is that there are parts of my childhood that my kids do not need. Will it serve them any purpose in knowing that my father didn’t spend a lot of time with me? Do they need to know that he put work before me?

I just smiled and pointed out that a cow had just pooped and the boys went running and laughing. But it got me thinking while I was walking around the fair and looking at the other chaperones and I was one of the only Dads that was there. I understand it, it is hard to take off of work. I had to cancel 4 meetings in order to go on the field trip, but it was important for me to be there. My son’s need to know that they are my priority!

All Dad’s and future Dad’s, spend everyday as if it was your last. Give your children your undivided attention and it is not always easy to do, but try. Put the phone down and listen. Read at night to your children. TV can wait and so can responding to the emails that are sitting in your inbox.

As I watched my boys interact with their classmates and show their engagement with the animals and asking questions, I thought about the previous year and how much they had grown. I realized that I will never get today back. And in a few years, the boys will not want me to go on a field trip with them. So for today, right now, I will be glad to take off every chance that I can to spend time with my sons. I will be glad to be the only Dad going with their kids.

And more importantly, I want to make sure that my sons know that I have and will always make them a priority.

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When Kids Refused to Go on a Field Trip to Support My Son With Special Needs

A school trip to the zoo is exciting, especially for kids 7- to 8-year-olds.

Except when your son has autism. And sensory issues. And severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And severe food allergies. And the list goes on.

My son was excited and wanted to go, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good experience for a number of reasons. It was an hour away, which was too far, especially for a bus ride. Who knew what the weather would be that day? He doesn’t like getting wet, so rain is out. The heat and sun bother him, so that’s out. What was the likelihood of it being 70 degrees and breezy with light clouds on the day of the field trip?

Would he have a good day or would it be one of his bad days? Would he meltdown over the sheer excitement of it? That happens often. He’ll get exhausted and scream before we get into the car sometimes.

Related: Why I Beg Parents Not to Say This to Kids Who Cry

What exhibits will we see? Elephants are his favorite land animal. If we don’t see them, he’ll have an instant meltdown. He’s getting bigger, too. I can’t pick him up and whisk him away to comfort and calm him anymore.

My son’s food allergies are significant, too. They have peanuts at the zoo. We avoid peanuts at all costs.

So for these reasons, we declined to go on the field trip. I never thought about contacting the teacher or principal or trying to change the trip. We had declined before, and I didn’t want to ruin the trip for anyone else. While we were asked our feelings about the trip, I never expected any special treatment.

I never expected what happened next either.

A mother had a conversation with her child about my son not going on the field trip. He decided that if my son couldn’t go, he wouldn’t go either. Another soon followed. And then another. They refused to go on the trip in support of my son and their friend.

Was I hearing these moms correctly? Not only were they voicing camaraderie, but they were backing it up, too. And their little kids would rather stay home than go to the zoo? I didn’t even know if these kids talked to my son during the day. They had always been nice to us and supportive behind the scenes. But in the world of special needs, sometimes you never really know how genuine people are or if they’re just being polite.

When you’re raising a child with special needs, sometimes you wonder what the community around you is thinking. Do they say he should be at a special school? Do they say he doesn’t belong? These questions often go unanswered. Until now.

I later heard that the boys in my son’s class had talked about the field trip. At one point, half of the class refused to go.

Related:  This Man Invented a Font to Help People With Dyslexia Read

To say that my husband and I broke down and cried when we heard about this is an understatement. Not only were the parents supporting my child in a way that had never been done before, their children had also been taught to show support, too.

I received a phone call from the principal, who wanted to make the field trip work in any way possible. She was wonderful in her support of my child and wanted to provide any accommodation that would allow for my child to attend.

In the end, we decided that it wasn’t safe due to the food allergy issue. We certainly didn’t want to deny anyone else a trip to the zoo. After all, they may not get another chance.

Related: The Letter I Would Have Written for My Parents When I Was Still Nonverbal

While most went on the trip, four of us did not. But it’s really not about the field trip. The willingness of the principal to provide any assistance necessary was overwhelming. Her unwavering support of our family is unmatched. The parents who showed us support and their amazing children have become our friends. Good friends. Friends we haven’t had since our child’s diagnosis. Friends who don’t judge. Friends who create special zones at their house for my son if he gets overwhelmed and have special foods he can eat. Friends who ask us how we are and don’t get annoyed if we can’t talk because we’re helping a little boy who’s having a bad day.

An admission ticket can’t buy that.

By  Tracy Boyarsky Smith

More from The Mighty :

To the Embarrassed Parent of the Child Pointing at My Daughter

When I Overheard a Conversation Between My Son With Autism and His Brother

5 Things Not to Say to Someone Living With Anxiety

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Sunshine Parenting

Let Your Son Go!

FTM expressed concerns about allowing her son to go on a school field trip to their state’s capital, which was three hours away. The reason FTM didn’t want him to go was that this would be the first time she would not be chaperoning one of his field trips. She had not signed up to be a chaperone fast enough and didn’t make the cut. Since FTM had been on every single field trip since her son started school, this would be her ten-year-old’s (insert gasp here) first field trip without her.

Dr. Laura focused on how the three-hour bus ride each way was just “too long to do in one day,” and she recommended that FTM not allow her son to go on the field trip. She recommended that FTM plan a family trip to the capital, stay overnight at a hotel, and see the sights as a family instead of allowing her son to go on the school field trip.

If had my own radio talk show and FTM had called me instead of Dr. Laura, I would have advised her differently. I would have said, “Let your son go! Let him have an adventure without you for once!” Since I don’t have a show and nobody asked my opinion, I just talked to myself about how sad this decision was for the field-trip-deprived ten-year-old. And then I decided to write this in case anyone reading is ever facing a similar decision or is feeling guilty for not chaperoning one of your child’s field trips.

This advice comes from personal experience. My son’s favorite and most memorable day of 5th grade (at age 10) was his all-day field trip to a choir festival and the beach. Yes, it was a three-hour drive each way on a bus. But it was a bus filled with his friends ! My son described the bus ride as “the best part of the day,” and he still talks about how much fun he had talking, joking, singing, laughing, and taking huge group photos (on a device not connected to the internet, of course).

And, no, I was not there. Not even following the bus in my own car. Because, unlike FTM, I don’t think I need to be at every single event of my son’s life. In fact, I know there are some benefits to me not being there. Two benefits are the growth in his independence and the development of his confidence in being self-sufficient.  Another benefit is a higher fun factor. I may be fun occasionally when I’m not nagging asking and lecturing reminding about homework, showering, going to bed, dishes, laundry, and the timer going off for the end of electronic device use, but I know for sure that I am not as much fun as other ten-year-olds.

At a conference several years ago, Michael Thompson, Ph.D.  led an exercise that I will never forget. He asked a room full of adults to close our eyes and think back to a favorite childhood memory. I thought of my childhood afternoons with my neighborhood friends exploring up and down the creek near our home searching for frogs. Then he told us to open our eyes and raise our hands if our parents were part of the memory. Very few hands in the huge hotel conference room went up. Thompson then eloquently stated, “Our best childhood memories do not involve adults.”

I hope my children will have many fond memories of our family’s time together, our trips and traditions. However, I also hope that they are acquiring fun childhood memories of adventures with their friends. I’ve missed a lot of my kids’ events over the years, often because two of them had conflicting events or I had a work commitment. I confess that I chaperoned many more field trips for my older kids than I have for my younger ones. I have a full life that involves my family, my work, and some activities that just keep me happy (meeting friends to work-out or have coffee, running, reading, and writing this blog, to name a few), so I guard my limited time closely. Most likely FTM (and Dr. Laura) would say that I’m not an involved-enough parent because these days I only rarely chaperone a school field trip. But I believe that our morning hugs , nightly family dinners , playing ping-pong in the garage, reading a good chapter book together, a nightly back rub and prayers, and attending all of their important events, is good-enough parenting.

I also know that a long bus ride is much more fun without me.

Want to read more?

Who’s Not Ready for College? (Sunshine Parenting)

How Independent do We Want our Kids to Be?  (Sunshine Parenting)

Parking your Helicopter  (Sunshine Parenting)

Are You an Overly Involved Parent?  (aboutourkids.org)

Parental Involvement is Overrated (NY Times)

‘Snowplow parents’ overly involved in college students’ lives (Boston Globe)

Over-involved parents handicap, not help, their kids (newstimes.com)

Parents: stop hovering over your college-bound kids (usnews.com)

When parents are too hands-on (SeattleTimes.com)

6 Things Overprotective Parents do wrong  (time.com)

Free Range Kids  (Lenore Skenazy’s blog: “Free-Range is not ‘free-wheeling.’ We believe in teaching our kids safety. We just also happen to believe that kids today are smarter and safer than society gives them credit for.”

If you still haven’t had enough, visit my Sunshine Parenting board on Pinterest  or my Facebook page!

Comments are closed

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Pope to preside over interfaith meeting in Indonesian mosque during longest, most challenging trip

Saturday, 06 Jul 2024

Related News

Pope decries populists, warns democracy is in bad health

Pope decries populists, warns democracy is in bad health

Pope deplores state of democracy, warns against 'populists' just before trip to asia including singapore and indonesia, pope francis awaits busy schedule for september trip to asia - singapore and indonesia main stopover.

ROME / JAKARTA (AP): Pope Francis will preside over an interfaith meeting in a mosque in the world’s largest predominantly Muslim country during a four-nation Asian visit in September that will be the longest and most complicated foreign trip of his pontificate.

The Vatican on Friday released the itinerary for Francis’ Sept. 2-13 trip to Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Singapore. The packed schedule makes clear that the 87-year-old pontiff, who has battled health problems and is increasingly reliant on a wheelchair, has no plans to slow down.

After a day of rest upon arrival in Jakarta on Sept. 3, Francis launches into a typically rigorous round of protocol visits to heads of state and government, speeches to diplomats and meetings with clergy and public Masses.

Francis will be the third pope to visit Indonesia, after Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II in 1989.

About 87% of Indonesia’s 277 million people are Muslim, but the country also has Southeast Asia’s second-largest Christian population, after the Philippines, and the third-largest in Asia after the Philippines and China.

In Jakarta, he’ll preside over an interfaith meeting at the capital’s Istiqlal Mosque, expected to be attended by leaders of the six religions in Indonesia that are officially recognized and protected: Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism.

Francis is also expected to walk through a tunnel, called the "Tunnel of Friendship,” connecting the grand mosque to the neo-Gothic Our Lady of The Assumption Cathedral, which was constructed by Indonesian authorities in 2020.

As a result, the first leg of Francis' four-nation trip is likely to heavily emphasize interreligious harmony and tolerance, a theme he has hammered home on many of his foreign visits, especially to the Gulf and other Muslim majority nations.

Sprinkled in the mix in all four countries are encounters with young people, poor and disabled people, elderly people and Francis’ regular meetings with his Jesuit confreres.

The trip was originally planned for 2020 but was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At 11 full days, it's the longest of Francis’ 11-year papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his long trips to the Americas and recalling some of the strenuous, globe-hopping trips of St. John Paul II.

It will bring the Argentine Jesuit to the world’s most populous predominantly Muslim nation, Indonesia, as well as one of the world's newest countries, the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, where the Catholic Church wields enormous influence.

About 98.3% of its 1.34 million population is Catholic, according to the 2022 census, and it’s the Asian country with the highest proportion of Catholics after the Philippines.

Francis will be the second pope to visit East Timor after John Paul in 1989, but the first since the country gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

In East Timor, however, Francis may also have to reckon with the legacy of independence hero Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2020 for having sexually abused young Timorese boys and is currently believed to be living in Portugal.

Francis had to cancel his last planned foreign visit -- a quick trip to Dubai last year to participate in the U.N. climate conference -- because of a recurring case of bronchitis. He has seemed in relatively good form in recent months, including during day trips to Italian cities and visits to Roman parishes.

But in recent years, as his mobility has been limited by bad knee ligaments, he has generally stuck closer to home and kept his foreign trips relatively short.

After he returns to Rome in mid-September, he has a four-day visit to Belgium and Luxembourg before the end of the month, the only other foreign trip that has been confirmed for the year.

- AP's Karmini reported from Jakarta, Indonesia.

Tags / Keywords: Pope , Indonesia , Major Speech , Inter-faith religion , Big Test , Jakarta , Mosque

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

When kids refused to go on a field trip to support my son with special needs.

field trip of my son

A school trip to the zoo is exciting, especially for kids 7- to 8-year-olds.

Except when your son has autism. And sensory issues. And severe  attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And severe food allergies. And the list goes on.

My son was excited and wanted to go, but I knew it wouldn’t be a good experience for a number of reasons. It was an hour away, which was too far, especially for a bus ride. Who knew what the weather would be that day? He doesn’t like getting wet, so rain is out. The heat and sun bother him, so that’s out. What was the likelihood of it being 70 degrees and breezy with light clouds on the day of the field trip?

Would he have a good day or would it be one of his bad days? Would he meltdown over the sheer excitement of it? That happens often. He’ll get exhausted and scream before we get into the car sometimes.

What exhibits will we see? Elephants are his favorite land animal. If we don’t see them, he’ll have an instant meltdown. He’s getting bigger, too. I can’t pick him up and whisk him away to comfort and calm him anymore.

My son’s food allergies are significant, too.  They have peanuts at the zoo. We avoid peanuts at all costs.

So for these reasons, we declined to go on the field trip. I never thought about contacting the teacher or principal or trying to change the trip. We had declined before, and I didn’t want to ruin the trip for anyone else. While we were asked our feelings about the trip, I never expected any special treatment.

I never expected what happened next either.

A mother had a conversation with her child about my son not going on the field trip. He decided that if my son couldn’t go, he wouldn’t go either. Another soon followed. And then another. They refused to go on the trip in support of my son and their friend.

Was I hearing these moms correctly? Not only were they voicing camaraderie, but they were backing it up, too. And their little kids would rather stay home than go to the zoo? I didn’t even know if these kids talked to my son during the day. They had always been nice to us and supportive behind the scenes. But in the world of special needs, sometimes you never really know how genuine people are or if they’re just being polite.

When you’re raising a child with special needs, sometimes you wonder what the community around you is thinking. Do they say he should be at a special school? Do they say he doesn’t belong? These questions often go unanswered. Until now.

I later heard that the boys in my son’s class had talked about the field trip. At one point, half of the class refused to go.

To say that my husband and I broke down and cried when we heard about this is an understatement. Not only were the parents supporting my child in a way that had never been done before, their children had also been taught to show support, too.

I received a phone call from the principal, who wanted to make the field trip work in any way possible. She was wonderful in her support of my child and wanted to provide any accommodation that would allow for my child to attend.

In the end, we decided that it wasn’t safe due to the food allergy issue. We certainly didn’t want to deny anyone else a trip to the zoo. After all, they may not get another chance.

While most went on the trip, four of us did not. But it’s really not about the field trip. The willingness of the principal to provide any assistance necessary was overwhelming. Her unwavering support of our family is unmatched. The parents who showed us support and their amazing children have become our friends. Good friends. Friends we haven’t had since our child’s diagnosis. Friends who don’t judge. Friends who create special zones at their house for my son if he gets overwhelmed and have special foods he can eat. Friends who ask us how we are and don’t get annoyed if we can’t talk because we’re helping a little boy who’s having a bad day.

An admission ticket can’t buy that.

Tracy Boyarsky Smith is a former professional turned stay-at-home mom of three boys. Her new job is full of love and advocacy for autism, food allergies, ADHD and other chronic illnesses.

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field trip of my son

  • Celebrity Family
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Usher's 4 Kids: All About Usher V, Naviyd, Sovereign and Sire

Usher has two children with his ex-wife Tameka Foster and two kids with his wife Jenn Goicoechea

field trip of my son

Grammy-winning artist Usher has one of the most versatile careers — having acted in films, performed on Broadway and served as a coach on The Voice — but his most important role is dad.

The Super Bowl 2024 halftime performer is a proud father of four children. He shares sons Usher "Cinco" V and Naviyd Ely with his ex-wife, Tameka Foster, as well as daughter Sovereign Bo and son Sire Castrello with his wife, Jenn Goicoechea.

He told Essence in 2008 that he evaluated "what I feel like I missed from my own father — knowing that I was accepted. That I mattered. And hearing that he cared enough to put me before himself" and vowed to provide his children with the support and security he never had.

Usher's kids have also served as the inspiration behind some of his music . He revealed that his 2020 song "I Cry" was inspired by the first time his eldest sons saw him shed tears.

"There was a moment between a son and a father [in the movie] and it got to me — I started crying. So my kids, they look over at me and they're like, 'Are you crying?!' " Usher recalled. "I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm crying!' They're like, 'You cry?!' I'm like, 'Yeah, I cry, and it's okay to cry.' "

Instagram/usher

Both of Usher's children with Goicoechea were born during the COVID-19 pandemic. He opened up about the experience during a September 2020 appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden .

"I think everybody's had the opportunity to take a beat back and realize what really matters in this time — it's family ," he said. "It is coming closer to your loved ones and appreciating the ones that you have while you have them."

Leading up to his major Super Bowl 2024 halftime performance, Usher shared that his kids often avoid attending events with him because of his star power. “My kids – sometimes, they don’t want me to come. They don’t want me to be at their basketball game or their recital, or they wanna be very, very low-key, ‘cause they don’t want that energy,” he told football commentator Shannon Sharpe on his podcast Club Shay Shay .

Usher continued, remarking on the challenges of his kids' upbringing being so different from his own. “That access and that reality that they’re looking at – it gives them some expectation and unfortunately I can’t take it back,” he said. “I walked so that we could ride. And now that you’re riding, I want you to understand the importance of walking.”

Keep reading to learn more about Usher's four children.

Usher "Cinco" Raymond V, 16

Usher's first son, Usher Raymond V, was born on Nov. 27, 2007, to Usher and his then-wife Foster.

Ahead of his birth, Usher expressed his hopes for his firstborn during an interview with PEOPLE.

"I just want my son to fully be coherent and to be healthy, first and foremost," he said. "You can wish for a million and one things. But I hope that my son has the same energy I had as a child. Hopefully, he won't be as bad as me. I hope that he's just a healthy son."

In 2008, Usher and Usher V appeared on the cover of Essence together. In his interview, the artist discussed how becoming a parent made him reflect on his own father's role in his life, and how he intended to be a better role model for his son.

"You should never abandon that responsibility, which is to be there, reading with your child, being supportive of your child's growth," he told the outlet. "That is communicating. That is making the choice to put your child before your own vanity."

When Usher V was just 5 years old, he nearly drowned after getting his arm stuck in a pool drain while trying to retrieve a toy.

"I am blessed and fortunate to say that my son Usher V is doing well and is recovering," Usher said in a statement at the time. "I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayers, love and support for my family's well-being."

More than 10 years after the accident, Usher told PEOPLE it was " one of the hardest days of my life ". He compared it to seeing Foster lose her 11-year-old son, Kile, in a tragic boating accident in 2012.

"To know that I would have a similar situation that could have just taken my son's life. It's like I understand and have great empathy for what both her and Ryan, her ex-husband, had to deal with because I've experienced a portion of it in real-time," he said.

In 2014, Usher V was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old. While speaking at the JDRF's Promise Ball the following year, which aims to raise awareness and money for diabetes research and a cure, Usher shared how proud he was of his son.

"A child that every day has to prick himself and has to be cautious of what he eats and also to carry this disorder around — that really is the type of bravery that we all aspire to have," he said.

After doctors determined that Usher V was diabetic, the "OMG" singer said that co-parenting with Foster became " very complicated " because it requires a "great deal of consideration and commitment" to manage the disease.

"From the moment that Type 1 diabetes was a conversation, it was a re-acclimation to life. The life that we knew changed,” he told PEOPLE in 2023. "The breeding ground of disaster is lack of communication."

In November 2022, Usher shared how his oldest boys feel about his global fame . He noted that Usher V prefers to go by his nickname to separate himself from his dad.

"I have one son, Cinco, who does not like to be called Usher, who tries to get away from it," he told Tamron Hall .

Naviyd Ely, 15

Usher and Foster welcomed their second son, Naviyd Ely, on Dec. 10, 2008.

In June 2009, Usher filed for divorce from Foster. Their divorce was finalized in November and Usher was granted full custody of their two boys.

When Naviyd was just 3 years old, he joined his dad and brother at the 2011 premiere of the documentary Justin Bieber : Never Say Never . Usher served as the "Holy" singer's mentor when he first broke onto the music scene a few years prior.

After filming his 2016 movie Hands of Stone , Usher told PEOPLE that he took a break from his career to "focus on my kids and personal things." He then described a perfect moment he spent in Italy with Usher V and Naviyd, who were 8 and 7 at the time.

"I went on an air balloon trip with about 15 people and we were about 3,000 feet in the air," he said. "Both my boys were up there with me ... The whole family was up there. It was cool to just have that little moment away."

That same year, Usher V and Naviyd attended their dad's Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony on Sept. 7, 2016. The family posed for photos together with Usher's star on the red carpet.

In a November 2022 conversation with Tamron Hall, Usher shared that unlike his older brother Usher V, Naviyd "really loves entertainment." He not only watches all of his dad's shows, but he also gives him critiques.

"He's like, 'You missed this thing. you didn't do this thing.' And I'm like, 'Yeah that's the point. It's not supposed to be the same every night,' " Usher said.

Naviyd and Usher V supported their dad at the BET Awards in June 2024. While on stage accepting his lifetime achievement award, Usher talked at length about fatherhood. "It’s 100% all about my children and making certain you understand that your dreams can come true if you’re truly committed," the R&B star said.

Sovereign Bo, 3

Sovereign Bo was born about a month early on Sept. 24, 2020. She is Usher's first child with wife (then girlfriend) Goicoechea.

"We are feeling blessed and full of love with the arrival of our beautiful baby girl, Sovereign Bo Raymond," Usher wrote on Instagram with a photo of his newborn's hand. "'Isn't She Lovely' by Stevie Wonder on repeat ❤️ ❤️ ❤️."

Usher announced that he and Goicoechea were expecting their first child together a few weeks prior on Sept. 2, 2020.

"Babies always bring such joy to a family and [I'm] really excited for my young one — well, my bean's arrival," he said on Good Morning America .

Usher revealed the symbolism behind his first daughter's name in a May 2021 interview with Extra .

"Sovereign, man, is such a beautiful word and name to me, you know, a supreme ruler is obviously the defined name," he explained. "She's definitely ruling the household, but Sovereign Bo — Bo is at the end of it, so [she's] my little 'reign-bo.' "

Sovereign is Usher's only daughter, and she was born knowing what she wants, as he told Ellen DeGeneres .

"She came out early," he said. "She was scheduled to be a Scorpio but decided she had a different plan . Libras, you know, they kinda have their minds made up what they wanna do."

Talking about his Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace, Usher told Good Morning America in July 2021 that he was " loving being a girl dad ."

"I'm even changing my colors; I'm wearing pink and cool stuff like that," he added.

However, Sovereign wasn't the only baby in the house for long. She was still an infant when Goicoechea and Usher announced they were expecting again .

In October 2022, Usher shared an adorable photo of Sovereign dressed as Mirabel Madrigal from Disney's Encanto for Halloween.

Sire Castrello, 2

Sire Castrello, was born to Goicoechea and Usher on Sept. 29, 2021.

The father of four announced his son's birth the following month on Instagram , posting a black-and-white photo of the baby's face and the caption: "Hi my name is Sire Castrello Raymond … I am the newest addition to the Raymond crew. I was born Sept 29 2021 at 6:42pm weighting 7lbs 13oz. Hear me roar … A.K.A Ra Ra . 👶🏽 ♎️ Gang."

After Usher said he did a "terrible job" picking the music for Sovereign's birth, he was determined to pick a better song for Sire's entrance into the world; he chose "In Da Club" by 50 Cent .

"The second time, I came fully equipped," he revealed on The Ellen Degeneres Show . "I had my Mophie. I had speakers. I had backup batteries. I had a whole playlist that I had worked on for about two weeks . It was crazy. It was great."

Ahead of Sire's first birthday, Usher shared a series of photos of the two of them together. In the photos, Usher grins at his youngest son, and there's a video of the baby giggling happily. "Blessings," Usher captioned the post.

"Me and him have a really cool relationship. He's different than any of my other kids," he told PEOPLE. "I've managed to have a little code going with him when I talk to him and how we speak to each other. He makes me mush ... My new little boy, he's something special."

In October 2022, he celebrated both Sire and Sovereign's birthdays by posting photos of them from a suit-themed photo shoot inspired by the movie The Boss Baby 2: Family Business . The two toddlers both wore matching suits with their hair in slick updos.

Usher also posted a photo of him and Sire in casual clothes, captioned: "#1 in the buildin'☝🏾 HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY Sire Ra!! 🎂🎉🥳🎊MyBiggieBoy."

Related Articles

Families

My Son’s First Field Trip Without Me

One of the reasons I wanted to work from home was so that I could be available for all of Tyler’s assorted school activities. Especially field trips. Somehow, the thought of my baby going out into the world without me was a scary thought. So far this year I have attended every school function, including field trips. Today was an exception.

When Tyler came home with a permission slip Tuesday for an outing to the movies, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go. But again, I was afraid of letting him go alone. A part of me realizes that if something’s going to happen to him, it could very well happen when he’s with me but the other part of me wants to protect him as much as I can. I guess I feel if I sense potential danger I can somehow avert it.

Yesterday I decided I was being a worrywart. I decided to let him go, gasp, alone . As I sit typing this, the movie should be over in a short time and they will be heading back to school. I initially figured I would spend the day wondering if he was okay but surprisingly I didn’t. I admit I will be relieved when I pick him up from school. However, it was good for both of us, especially for me. I certainly have had more problems with separation than Tyler has. A part of me is upset about that but then again I don’t want him growing up clingy and afraid. I want him to be independent.

By the same token, I want to be active in his education and I will. Being involved does not mean that I have to attend every single function or that I have to attend field trips out of fear that he won’t come back unharmed. By letting him go out into the world alone (sometimes at least), I am sending a message that I trust him to behave himself when I’m not around. And that the world is not a scary place where bad things are just waiting to happen.

Cutting the Apron Strings

Child’s Play

Offering Guidance to Your Kids Not Criticism

UK election latest: Starmer makes 'hugely important' visit to Scotland as he kicks off first tour of UK

New PM Keir Starmer is embarking on a "reset" tour of the UK, as he seeks to improve the UK government's relations with the devolved administrations.

Sunday 7 July 2024 22:40, UK

  • General Election 2024

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  • Starmer kicks off UK tour in Edinburgh
  • PM holds first meeting with Scottish first minister
  • New Northern Ireland secretary rules out border poll
  • Home secretary launches search for border security commander
  • Senior Tories 'likely putting teams together' for leadership bids
  • Analysis: Could Tories take their time to pick new leader?
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker

Election fallout

  • Starmer's challenges: Tackling exhausted NHS | Looming chaos abroad | Defence to dominate early days | Small boats plan? | Rift with scientists needs healing
  • Listen: Politics At Jack And Sam's - what's in Starmer's in-tray?
  • Results in every constituency

That's all for tonight from the Politics Hub.

We'll be back tomorrow for Labour's first full week in power.

Before you go, here were today's main stories:

Sir Keir Starmer has met with Scotland's first minister, John Swinney.

Speaking to broadcasters afterwards, both men were asked if Scottish independence had come up in the talks.

After losing the vast majority of their seats last week, the SNP are arguing the Holyrood results in 2021 still give them a mandate to work towards leaving the UK.

Sir Keir - whose party grew sizeably in Scotland - has said he is targeting the next Holyrood election in 2026 to win even more of a mandate.

On the talks today, Sir Keir said he would not go into details of what was discussed - but said that the two "can work constructively together".

He added that he has made a commitment to deliver for Scotland, and that he plans to make good on it.

Sir Keir added that he took the opportunity to "reset relations" with the first and deputy first ministers.

He conceded there were "clearly differences of opinion" between them on constitutional matters, but the meeting was still constructive.

Mr Swinney said he "very much welcomed" the engagement and was committed to improving the relationship between the Scottish and UK administrations.

He said the SNP made clear they have "different views" on the constitution - but also that the SNP is taking time "to reflect and consider" the issues posed by the election.

They lost 39 of their 48 seats on Thursday.

Mr Swinney said the party intends to focus on issues like economic growth, child poverty, public services and net zero ahead of securing independence. 

By Tim Baker , political reporter

The government is to divert tens of millions of pounds from the Rwanda scheme to set up a new Border Security Command (BSC), as it announces its plans to tackle illegal migration.

Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has also announced an audit of the monies sent to Kigali as the Labour administration looks to find ways to save or recoup cash committed under the Conservatives.

Ms Cooper plans to raise the issue of illegal migration with her European colleagues at the European Political Community Summit on 18 July.

Before the general election, Sir Keir Starmer said his party wanted to send around £75m a year to their new border scheme, from the scrapped Rwanda deportation programme.

The prime minister described the Conservative-era plans to send asylum seekers to Africa as "dead and buried" earlier this weekend.

However, it is understood Labour has not reached out to Kigali to discuss the way forward, as the previous UK government promised hundreds of millions of pounds for migrants to be sent to Rwanda.

Read more below:

Defence Secretary John Healey has already met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with the Labour government making a new pledge on sending arms to Ukraine.

Mr Healey also promised that the equipment Rishi Sunak announced in April will be delivered within the first 100 days of the new government.

He said: "Our commitment to stand with the Ukrainian people is absolute, as is our resolve to confront Russian aggression and pursue Putin for his war crimes.

"This government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes."

The newly promised package of aid includes: 

  • A quarter of a million of 50 calibre ammunition;
  • 90 anti-armour Brimstone missiles;
  • 50 small military boats to support river and coastal operations;
  • 40 de-mining vehicles;
  • 10 AS-90 artillery guns;
  •  61 bulldozers to help build defensive positions;
  • Support for previously gifted AS-90s.

The new home secretary has wasted little time in getting started in her role - launching the promised Border Security Command (BSC) just days after her appointment. 

The BSC was one of the cornerstones of Sir Keir Starmer's manifesto - Labour's solution to the small boats crisis.

The set-up is being at least partly funded by diverting £75m from the now cancelled Rwanda scheme. 

Yvette Cooper has set out the first steps for establishing the BSC, which promises to "strengthen Britain's borders security and smash the criminal smuggling gangs making millions out of small boat crossings".

The plan includes the rapid recruitment of an "exceptional leader", which begins tomorrow. 

'We can't carry on like this'

The new recruit, who is expected to take up their post in the coming weeks, will report directly to the office of the home secretary. 

They will be tasked with providing a "strategic direction" across agencies, including the National Crime Agency, police, immigration enforcement, and the Border Force.

Ms Cooper is also preparing early legislation which will introduce new counter-terror style powers for the BSC, and has commissioned an investigation into the routes and tactics used by smuggling gangs.

She said it would be a "major step change" in the UK's efforts to tackle organised immigration crime, working "across Europe" and co-ordinating with prosecutors on the continent.

"We can't carry on like this," she said, adding the BSC will act as a "major upgrade" on the immigration system Labour have inherited. 

Sunday might be a day of rest for many of us, but for prime ministers and political journalists there's no such thing.

Sir Keir Starmer has had a busy day, kicking off a tour of the UK, and there's been plenty else keeping us busy.

Here are the main things you need to know from today:

  • Sir Keir Starmer has headed to Edinburgh for the start of a UK tour, where he'll meet with First Minister John Swinney;
  • Speaking to Scottish Labour supporters beforehand, he promised to "serve every single person in Scotland" no matter who they voted for;
  • The PM hopes his visits to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will signal a "reset in relations" between Westminster and the devolved administrations;
  • It comes after Labour enjoyed a revival in Scotland to become the largest party north of the border, and kept that status in Wales too.
  • New government ministers are settling into their roles and were quick to rule out introducing ID cards to tackle illegal immigration this morning;
  • Labour's top team distanced themselves from the suggestion made by former party leader and prime minister Sir Tony Blair ;
  • The new Northern Ireland secretary, Hilary Benn, also denied there was a case for a border poll on the island of Ireland after Sinn Fein became the largest Northern Irish party at Westminster.
  • Meanwhile, the Tory leadership race may well be under way after several former ministers refused to rule themselves out;
  • Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman were among those on the media round this morning who indicated they could be up for replacing Rishi Sunak;
  • But our political correspondent Darren McCaffrey says there are some in the party who want them to take their time before deciding, rather than rushing towards a right-wing candidate looking to stave off the threat from Reform UK.

You can also get the lowdown on the new prime minister's first few days from our Politics At Jack And Sam's podcast below:

Sir Keir Starmer has just spoken alongside the Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who introduced the new PM to a rapturous applause of party supporters in Edinburgh.

After a long intro from his Scottish colleague, Sir Keir says it's "hugely important" for him to visit the devolved nations as soon as possible. 

"That was an incredible election result, a historic result and a real mandate for change - we start here," he says. 

He says there's nothing "inevitable" about an election win, adding "we won because we campaigned as changed Labour". 

"We [will] govern in the same spirit… we will serve the entirety of Scotland, we will serve every single person in Scotland because that change matters to everyone."

Our political correspondent  Amanda Akass   says the speech was a reminder of the unique opportunity Sir Keir has to unite the UK's devolved administrations.

Scottish Labour "really rose out of the ashes of their previous defeats" in this week's general election, she says, going from one MP to 37.

The PM wants those new MPs "to be a big part of the government in Westminster to deliver for the people of Scotland as part of that mandate for change".

He'll also be meeting First Minister John Swinney, as part of what he hopes will be a "reset" in relations between Westminster and Holyrood.

Sir Keir Starmer is giving a speech following a meeting with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar in Edinburgh this afternoon.

It comes at the start of the PM's first UK tour - once he's finished north of the border he'll be going to Wales and Northern Ireland.

His Scotland visit will also include a meeting with John Swinney, the first minister and SNP leader.

You can watch his speech in the stream above.

The prime minister has welcomed comments made by the Irish Taoiseach during an interview with Sky News. 

You can see Simon Harris and Sir Keir Starmer's interaction in the embedded X post below… 

It comes after Mr Harris promised he and fellow EU leaders would give the new prime minister a "fair hearing" when it comes to possible changes to the post-Brexit trade deal.

Sir Keir has repeatedly described it as "botched" and said during the election campaign he'd look to improve it - but with no return to the single market, customs union, or freedom of movement.

You can read Ireland correspondent  Stephen Murphy 's full interview with Mr Harris here . 

It's been a busy week and weekend - so it's easy to miss key moments. 

Need a catch-up on the last few days of history-making political drama?

Watch below… 

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field trip of my son

  • MyU : For Students, Faculty, and Staff

hUMNs of Chemistry #17

Headshots of three people over a maroon and gold banner

They/them Professor

Tell us about your journey to the University of Minnesota.

My first visit to the University of Minnesota was during my graduate school years at UW-Madison.  I came to make measurements at the Institute for Rock Magnetism and also ended up meeting the love of my life during that visit.  Fast forward, the love of my life and I live right here in Minneapolis.  

We would love to hear more about your research! What do you hope to accomplish with this work? What is the real-world impact for the average person?

I'm very excited to work on projects related to the environment, green chemistry, and sustainability. We have projects focused on the behavior of iron-bearing minerals in environmental systems, microplastics, biochar, materials for sustainable energy applications, and a brand new project with the Boiteau group focusing on the ocean!  

What courses do you teach? What can students expect to get out of your course?

I have had the great fortune of teaching general chemistry courses, which is great fun (most of the time).  General chemistry is a tough class, and I strive to make the classroom a supportive and welcoming one.  I also take every opportunity to include demonstrations during lecture, including popular Energy and U demonstrations like the screaming gummy bear, methane mamba, and the flaming tube of death.

What do you hope to contribute to the chemistry community at the University?

I hope to do innovative research in the areas of environmental chemistry and sustainability; continue and foster interdisciplinary collaborations; serve as an effective mentor and educator; engage with the broader community through research, outreach, and other activities; and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at the U of MN and beyond.

When you visit other universities, what do you love to share about our UMN community?

Ongoing commitments to collaborative and interdisciplinary research and to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

What do you do outside of the classroom/lab/office for fun?

I'm sure that most folks know I ride bikes -- a lot. I do some other things, honestly, I do...  I mean, sometimes.

What’s your favorite piece of chemistry/science pop culture media? Why do you love it?

I'm about to teach Chem 1015 (Introductory Chemistry) for the first time, and I think I might have to play this.

What was your very first job?

Mowing lawns

Tell us about who makes up your household (including pets).

Cheryl (human), Dandelion (dog), Bella (cat), and Dubby (cat).

portrait of Eric W. Schulz

Eric Schulz

Information Technology Professional

Please give a brief description of your role within the UMN Chemistry department.

If it plugs into a wall outlet or sits next to a computer or runs on a laptop and it "used to work before," I'll be asked to have a look at fixing it.

I grew up in Wisconsin and came to the U of MN for a degree in engineering.  As it turns out, I wasn't a very good engineer, but I was able to pick up a number of burgeoning computer skills.  I've got my start in DOS, Novell Netware, hand typing HTML and fixing Apple II's; while steadily learning the workings of past computers to today's iPads, laptops, computers and operating systems. The E-Shop's previous employees have passed on a few skills to me on instrument repair, but I wished I'd paid better attention while they were here!

Do you have a background in or like chemistry? Tell us about it!

I don't have anything other then a year of college Chemistry under my belt.

What professional successes are most important to you?

I was very proud of the web server and services that I ran for a number of years.  I have always felt that supporting the Department of Chemistry and its people with the best of my abilities is a very important part of who I am.

I've a few years left, and I hope to continue to learn about new technological advances.

Burger King cashier!

My family bought our first house a few years ago and I do enjoy fixing it up, both inside and outside.  I enjoy swimming, camping with the Boy Scouts and playing cards with friends.

What non-chemistry interest or activity of yours might surprise department members?

I recently got my certification in scuba diving and went on a diving trip to Florida.  Its probably not too surprising, but I like to learn how to repair cars and appliances.  

My wife, my daughter, my son, my father in-law and three cats!

Portrait of Cassandra Wouters

Casey Wouters

She/her Graduate student

I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and pursued my undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma. In college, I studied chemistry and worked as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Charles Rice's lab at OU. I came to UMN directly after finishing my BS in chemistry, with my first time visiting the Twin Cities being the day I arrived with all my stuff to move here (thanks, COVID). 

Are you involved in any student groups? What inspired you to get involved?

I'm currently serving as secretary of Queer Science, a group which does outreach to queer high schoolers in the Twin Cities metro. I love working with this group and think it's so important for young people to be able to see themselves represented in STEM. Additionally, I spend a lot of time working on the Graduate Labor Union and it's related causes. I am on the bargaining committee working with the university on writing our first contract! I became an organizer because I believe in the value of our work as grad students and have found my work with GLU to be incredibly fulfilling. 

Tell us about an important mentor in your academic life?

My undergraduate research adviser Dr. Charles Rice served a pivotal role in my experience at OU and in my grad school application and decision process. Working in his lab gave me amazing hands-on experience and confidence in my research abilities. I even got to conduct my own project for my honors thesis, which was published last year. Having a supportive PI and a lab group that formed its own little family was so important to my time at OU. 

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation, I hope to stay in the Twin Cities and get a job in the local science industry. I also have a keen interest in science policy and hope to incorporate some element of this into my future career as well. 

I love to craft and read! Name a craft and I have probably tried it, but my favorite is knitting. I like to constantly have a bunch of works in progress at the same time and to also have a book to suit every mood.   

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IMAGES

  1. During my son's Kindergarten field trip i took this picture. A few

    field trip of my son

  2. I Volunteered for My Son's Field Trip and Something Amazing Happened

    field trip of my son

  3. 59 Fun and Educational Field Trips

    field trip of my son

  4. Fabulous Field Trips • The Kinderhearted Classroom

    field trip of my son

  5. I took my family on a high school field trip

    field trip of my son

  6. 11 Preschool field trip ideas and lesson topics to go with them

    field trip of my son

VIDEO

  1. While my daughter was on a field trip, my son and I got to bond. #raisingaking #motherandson #food

  2. Noggin’s Field Trip: A Field Trip To The Beach (Elmo's World)

  3. Today is our last field trip of the year 😭🥕👩🏼‍🌾👨🏽‍🌾 Let’s be farmers!!! #fieldtrip #teacher

  4. Road Trip

  5. my son wasted my time

  6. my son's flying frisbee

COMMENTS

  1. No, Ma'am, You May Not Chaperone Your Son's Field Trip Without a

    When and if one says "ma'am," the place it appears in the sentence  and the tone in which it is pronounced make ALL the difference in the world. THIS use of "ma'am" was a dis. "This is the DISTRICT system," Lorena said slowly, hand on her screen. "You need to be in HERE to go on the field trip. You must not have submitted ...

  2. Dear Mamas, Go On The Field Trip With Your Kid

    Going on a field trip with your child's class puts you on his turf, and lets you peek inside his peer world. You'll get to observe his conversations and interactions with classmates, and you may just learn a few things about your little one's social skills. You'll get to know his teacher better by being a part of her/his "team" for ...

  3. I Volunteered for My Son's Field Trip and Something ...

    And when I told my son I was going on his field trip, he was ridiculously happy, which in itself, is reason to volunteer on a class field trip. Yet, I was terrified to go on this field trip. First, I am far from confident when taking care of other people's children. Even though it turned out I only had to take care of two kids, one of which ...

  4. How did you handle your first kids first field trip? : r/AskParents

    The only field trip that really scared me was when my child was in 6th grade. The trip included about 400 students at a Ren Faire that was open to the public. Students were paired with parent volunteers and there were a lot of parents who had no idea how to proactively manage a group of kids.

  5. Helpful Tips for Chaperoning School Field Trips

    Being a parent chaperone on your child's school field trip can be a wonderful experience for both of you. Here are some practical tips for being a responsible and effective volunteer for the class. Know the Plan Before you leave, discuss the itinerary, logistics, and any chaperone guidelines with the teacher in charge.

  6. I Survived My Son's First Field Trip

    I Survived My Son's First Field Trip. June 28, 2013 by amushro. When my son's chi chi preschool informed me that in order for him to keep his spot in school for the fall he needed to attend the summer session, I was livid, furious, irate! How dare they take away precious summertime with my boy of long days at the pool, running wild at the ...

  7. 7 Rules for chaperoning a school field trip with your child

    Field trips do NOT need a lot of rules. Let the kids enjoy the experience and have some independence as they look around. They do not need to have a leash around them. RELAXYou need to let yourself enjoy it as well. So yeah, it will be noisy. But you should have known that. They are 4 th graders. On a school bus. On the way to a field trip. No ...

  8. The Benefits of Chaperoning Your Kid's Field Trip

    Since my son attends a private school, most of our field trips involve parent drivers, as we do not have school buses. So signing on for this trip meant playing "bus driver" for a load of thirteen-year-old young men. Our normal trips are within the city limits, but this trip involved an hour-long drive up a windy road into the foothills.

  9. Why I'm eager to chaperone my son's class field trip

    The last field trip that I can remember chaperoning for him was likely a trip to the fire station to see the fire trucks when he was still in kindergarten. And my boy will be in middle school next ...

  10. The Absolute Awesomeness of Field Trips

    The Absolute Awesomeness of Field Trips. By Elena Aguilar. July 12, 2011. I am writing this post from the mountains of northern Thailand, ten days into a four-week adventure with my seven-year-old son and husband. This is the first serious travel we've done with our son -- the first time in a country where we don't speak the language, don't ...

  11. 10 learnings (and memories) from my mother-son Scotland trip

    A golf trip unlike any other. I recently traveled to the east coast of Scotland to play 10 days of golf with my 15-year-old son, Matthew. To say we had a great time would be an understatement ...

  12. Why I Don't Volunteer to Chaperone My Son's Field Trips

    An Open Letter to the Parents of My Son's Classmates: The trip slips have gone home along with the sign-up for parent volunteers. You may be wondering why I don't join you on the walking field trip to the museum. You may be wondering why, after the first walking field trip in the beginning of the year, I haven't joined you on any ...

  13. Field Trip

    And in a few years, the boys will not want me to go on a field trip with them. So for today, right now, I will be glad to take off every chance that I can to spend time with my sons. I will be glad to be the only Dad going with their kids. And more importantly, I want to make sure that my sons know that I have and will always make them a ...

  14. When Kids Refused to Go on a Field Trip to Support My Son With ...

    When Kids Refused to Go on a Field Trip to Support My Son With Special Needs. Yahoo Parenting. September 2, 2015. A school trip to the zoo is exciting, especially for kids 7- to 8-year-olds ...

  15. Mother Admits Killing Son, 7, with Morphine to Remove Cancer 'Pain'

    A mother in England has admitted to killing her 7-year-old son with a 'large dose of morphine' in 1981 to 'remove' his 'pain' amid his stage 4 cancer diagnosis, sharing: 'I was not going to let ...

  16. Patrick Mahomes and Son Bronze Share Mountain Moment on Vacation

    Patrick Mahomes and son Bronze shared a sweet moment together high in the mountains of Europe in an image shared from the their family vacation on Tuesday, July 2

  17. Let Your Son Go!

    My son's favorite and most memorable day of 5th grade (at age 10) was his all-day field trip to a choir festival and the beach. Yes, it was a three-hour drive each way on a bus. But it was a bus filled with his friends !

  18. I want to go with my son on his first field trip but my ...

    He doesn't need his mommy. It's his first field trip and he can handle it. I am just so enthusiastic to go. I love long trips, big crowds, kids, and museums! I love participating in school functions to support my 7yo! If the school is inviting me, and my son says yes, I want to go despite my husband's disagreement.

  19. UNESCO experts assess dossier seeking global status for ...

    A delegation of experts from UNESCO made a field trip to the northern province of Lang Son from July 6 -10 for on-site assessment of the dossier submitted to the organisation to seek the ...

  20. Pope to preside over interfaith meeting in Indonesian mosque during

    The trip was originally planned for 2020 but was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At 11 full days, it's the longest of Francis' 11-year papacy, outpacing by a few days some of his ...

  21. My son was injured on a field trip!

    Deciding to volunteer on my son's end-of-year trip to a local park was a last minute decision. The grade one teacher needed extra parent supervisors to help corral 30 rambunctious six- and seven-year-olds, preferring smaller groups of students with each adult supervisor to help make the field trip safer for the children. I adore the teacher and all of the students, and although I had a ...

  22. 'It breaks my heart': Mother whose son was injured in ...

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A mother whose son was injured last year in a bicycle crash said deaths like the bicyclist from Saturday morning are preventable. "It breaks my heart," Joanie Deal said. "There's just too many accidents out there." Police said a 20-year-old man was driving when he hit a man in his 60s who died at the scene.

  23. When Kids Refused to Go on a Field Trip to Support My Son ...

    Get hand-picked resources and highlights from our Mighty community straight to your inbox. A school trip to the zoo is exciting, especially for kids 7- to 8-year-olds. Except when your son has autism. And sensory issues. And severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And severe food allergies.

  24. My 6 year old is going on a field trip tomorrow.

    ADMIN MOD. My 6 year old is going on a field trip tomorrow. I hid an air tag in her shoe. I don't plan to tell anyone else, unless I need to. I wish so badly that I didn't feel the need to be able to track her. I wish I knew for sure this tracker would stay with her. I wish the world was a better place. I wish I wasn't such an anxious mom.

  25. Usher's 4 Kids: All About Usher V, Naviyd, Sovereign and Sire

    Please fill out this field. Magazine. Subscribe ... "I just want my son to fully be coherent and to be healthy, first and foremost," he said. ... "I went on an air balloon trip with about 15 ...

  26. My Son's First Field Trip Without Me

    One of the reasons I wanted to work from home was so that I could be available for all of Tyler's assorted school activities. Especially field trips. Somehow, the thought of my baby going out into the world without me was a scary thought. So far this year I have attended every school function, including field trips. Today was an exception.

  27. First time field trip volunteer? Here's what you need to know

    But I have promised my kids that I will go on one field trip a year, which I take a vacation day for. Last spring, Jan and I both tagged along to the zoo with the entire school — about 300 kids. It was an unusually hot day. My husband led our son and another first-grader, while I tended to our daughter, Lucy, and two of her kindergarten pals.

  28. UK election latest: Starmer makes 'hugely important' visit to Scotland

    UK election latest: Starmer makes 'hugely important' visit to Scotland as he kicks off first tour of UK. New PM Keir Starmer is embarking on a "reset" tour of the UK, as he seeks to improve the UK ...

  29. hUMNs of Chemistry #17

    Tell us about who makes up your household (including pets).My wife, my daughter, my son, my father in-law and three cats! Casey WoutersShe/herGraduate studentTell us about your journey to the University of Minnesota.I grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and pursued my undergraduate studies at the University of Oklahoma.

  30. Going on a field trip with my son today...

    All we know is that Susie Roger had no sandwich, and had a bag of gumdrops. We don't know that 1) Susie didn't eat the sandwhich on the bus ride over 2) Susie didn't trade her sandwhich away for the bag of gumdrops on the bus ride over or 3) Susie was given some other main component for her lunch (such as a hot dog) to go with her gumdrops.