AUGUSTA, Ga. – An unofficial field trip in Columbia County is causing a buzz among parents.
When COVID turns a school year upside down, parents have stepped in to fill some educational needs.
When COVID canceled Steven Creek Elementary’s annual fifth-grade field trip, some parents decided to plan their own, but not every student was invited.
But questions now arising, where some parents were approved to take their children on a 3-day educational field trip, but other parents say they weren’t given the option.
“It’s not ok,” one parent said.
Some parents of Stevens Creek fifth-graders, heartbroken after their children were left out of an unofficial educational trip to Jekyll Island planned during school hours.
“Starting from kindergarten at this school, these children are led to hype up this overnight camp that they get to do when they’re in 5th grade,” one mom said.
The trip canceled due to COVID. So, some parents stepped up to re-plan the trip themselves. The problem: only about 22 out of the 158 fifth-grade students from Stevens Creek were invited to attend.
These moms didn’t want to appear on camera for fear of backlash.
“This is horrible for a kid that already got everything taken away last year because of a pandemic,” one mom said.
Another parent saying it’s not just emotionally damaging for her child, but a missed educational opportunity.
“The fact that a select group of students were approved to go, without offering that option for other parents to also include their students — I do believe it’s discrimination as far as affording the same type of educational opportunities,” a mom said.
Parents of children on the trip had to request an excused absence from the school using a special event request form.
The school telling parents in a letter, “This trip is an excellent learning experience for students. However, the planned camp trip does come at an inopportune time.”
Still, the requests were approved so long as the students made up any work they missed in class.
“Her teachers told them that this week because so many kids were going to be absent, that they were going to have to have a review week because they couldn’t proceed with lesson planning,” a mom said.
Parents say they wish the school would have made those students take the trip outside of school hours, or informed all parents they could take their kids out of school for three days for their own educational trips.