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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.

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5 tips for picking the best chaperones for your school field trip.

chaperone a field trip

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Teachers who have traveled with their students before know that chaperones are the backbone of a school trip.

Choosing the right chaperones will set you up for success to make sure that your field trip will run smoothly and efficiently.

When you are selecting chaperones for your school field trip, make sure to consider these 5 important things:

1. Reliable and Trustworthy

Your chaperones are your eyes, ears and extra hands and feet to make sure that your students are safe during the field trip.

You should do your best to find a chaperone who is reliable – someone that you know you can count on to pitch in and follow the plan for the trip.

Timeliness is so important when coordinating groups of students for a field trip, so you should be able to trust that your chaperones will be on time, with the students they are responsible for, at the location they are supposed to be meeting at.

If there is an emergency at 3AM on your school trip, you should be able to trust your chaperones to pitch in with whatever actions need to be taken for the success of the trip.

Your chaperones are an extension of you. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with them assisting in your classroom, you shouldn’t bring them with you on a class field trip.

2. Travel Experience

If you are traveling with your students, make sure your chaperones have experience traveling.

It is good to have travel experts with you who know what is needed to prepare and coordinate students for airport security, have experience taking public transportation and understand how to navigate in a new city or place.

The last thing that you need when wrangling students together for a school trip is to have chaperones who need help and supervision.

chaperone a field trip

3. Make Expectations Clear

The school field trip is for the students, NOT the chaperones.

Set expectations ahead of time that outline the role that your chaperone will play on the field trip. This means that chaperones might miss out on some of the more “fun” aspects of the trip that are meant to stimulate student learning and creativity.

Make sure that chaperones understand that these experiences are meant to benefit the students, not the chaperones. It can be a common mistake that some chaperones might equate their role with a “free trip,” but these are not the chaperones that you want taking responsibility for your students on your school trip.

4. Diversity

Try to include diversity in your selection so that you will have chaperones that relate to each of your students.

This is especially relevant for students who are participating in a school trip out of town. For many of the students, this may be the first time they are away from their family for an extended period of time. It is important that they feel there is someone on the trip that they can relate to and come to, even if you are unavailable, during the experience.

chaperone a field trip

5. Listening and Focus

Your chaperones should be active listeners who are attuned to the needs of the students. They should listen to students concerns that are voiced out loud, but also recognize body language to tell if a student needs help or is stressed.

Sometimes this might mean that they are responsible for student discipline on the trip. Make sure you explain ahead of time what discipline responsibilities your chaperones will have on the field trip and what measures should be taken if rules are broken.

At the end of the day, chaperoning a school field trip is a job with responsibilities. Make sure those you select are focused on carrying out their role to the best of their abilities.

It’s okay to be selective when picking chaperones for your school trip! After all, it is your responsibility to make sure that your students are in good hands for their experience.

With the right chaperones by your side, you can execute a fantastic field trip your students will remember for the rest of their lives!

Ready to plan your school’s field trip? Check out our workshops in Arts & Humanities , Science & Technology , Leadership & Innovation and Performing Arts at our East Campus in Walt Disney World and our West Campus in Disneyland Resort for a discovery of real-world application of these concepts in our popular Parks and Resorts. Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay up to date on all things Disney Imagination Campus and explore all our academic workshops to see how we inspire imagination-powered learning.

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Everything You Need To Know

chaperoning a field trip

The Ultimate Guide to Chaperoning a Field Trip

Chaperoning a field trip can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Not only will you get to see your child interact with their peers and learn about new things, but you’ll also have the opportunity to bond with other parents. However, chaperoning a field trip can also be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. To help you prepare, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to chaperoning a field trip.


There are so many advantages to field trips for kids! And by being a chaperon, you can be part of an exciting and educational experience. However, preparing before heading out on the trip is important. Here are a few preparation tips for chaperoning a field trip.

  • Make sure you are familiar with the destination. Knowing a bit about the destination will help you answer any students’ questions. 
  • Prepare for the trip by reading the teacher’s instructions and making a packing list of things you might need. 
  • Ask the teacher what the learning objectives are for the trip.
  • Pack lunch, snacks and drinks. You probably will not have time to buy lunch. A packed lunch will save you money. Plus, ensure you have something to eat and don’t get hangry.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and the activity. Appropriate footwear will keep you comfortable and happy.

Arrive Early To Help Set Up And Get Organized

As a parent, chaperoning a field trip can be a great way to spend time with your child while also helping out their school. Plus, you’ll also see your child in action and learn more about their interests. Arrive early to help set up and get organized. Staying organized will help the trip go smoothly, and everyone will have a good time.

Keep An Eye On The Schedule

Another important thing to remember when chaperoning a field trip is to keep an eye on the schedule. Many activities are often planned for a field trip, and it can be easy to lose track of time. Make sure you know when each activity is supposed to start and end so that you can keep the students on track. 

Help Students Stay Organized

Remember that part of your job as a chaperon is to help the students stay organized. Meaning ensuring the students have everything they need for each activity and helping to keep track of any belongings they may have. 

Student Behavior

One of the most important things to remember when chaperoning a field trip is that the students are there to learn. That means that they need to be on their best behavior at all times. If you see a student acting up, talk to them calmly and try to redirect their behavior. You can also speak to the teacher if the situation warrants it. 

Spread Out From The Herd

First, remember that you are there to support the teacher, not to take over. Spread out from the other parents but stay close enough to be able to hear the teacher’s instructions. And don’t get lost. Second, take advantage of the opportunities to talk to your child and their classmates. Ask them about what they’re seeing and learning, and encourage them to ask questions themselves.

Stop Scrolling

As a parent, chaperoning a field trip can be both a fun and rewarding experience. Not only will you get to spend time with your child and see them in action, but you’ll also get to meet their classmates and teachers. However, it’s important to remember that your primary responsibility is to ensure the safety of the students. That means being attentive and keeping an eye on things at all times. It also means putting away your cell phone and being present in the moment. Use your best judgment when it comes to taking photos. Remember that you’re there to supervise the children, not document their every move. That said, don’t be afraid to capture some candid moments – they’ll be sure to bring a smile to your face later on.

*Ask the teacher about the school’s right to photography policy before posting any photos on social media.

Be Prepared For Any Emergencies

Chaperoning a field trip can be a fun experience. However, it is essential to be prepared for any emergencies. First, make sure you have the teacher’s contact information. Before the field trip, ask the teacher if any of the kids in your group has any allergies or medical conditions you should know about. Also, it is a good idea to bring a first-aid kit and a map of the area. Finally, be sure to stay calm and reassuring in the event of an emergency.

Stay Positive and Have Fun

Chaperoning a field trip can be a lot of fun. You get to see the kids enjoying themselves and participating in activities. Chaperoning can also be a great way to bond with your child. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience:

  • Stay positive and have fun yourself. The kids will respond to your energy, so if you’re enjoying yourself, they’re more likely to have a good time as well.
  • Be patient. There’s bound to be chaos on a field trip but remain calm and flexible. The goal of any field trip is for everyone to have a good time, so go with the flow and roll with any punches.

Chaperoning a field trip can be a ton of fun. With a bit of preparation, it can be easy! Read the teacher’s instructions, familiarize yourself with the destination, pack lunch and snacks, and dress appropriately for the weather and activity. By following these tips, you’ll surely have a great time!

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Preparing Parent Chaperones for a Field Trip

Even with eyes in the backs of our heads, we need back up.

chaperone a field trip

Even though teachers have “eyes in the back of their heads,” we can’t be everywhere during field trips, so responsible parent chaperones are a must to safely and successfully extend students’ learning outside the classroom. Dominique recently asked the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE! for advice on preparing parent chaperones. Here are some do’s and don’ts to ensure your parent chaperones are well equipped to help you provide a safe, stress-free and spectacular field trip experience!

Do write out important information. Prepare an informational sheet that lists: students’ names, itinerary, departure location, goals for the trip, emergency contact information and any other important instructions your chaperones should know.

Do explain roles and responsibilities. Have a brief meeting with chaperones before you leave school to set expectations. “Too many parents want to chaperone to be ‘buddies’ with the kids rather than to help them stay safe and learn.”–Scott  “I ask them to be responsible for monitoring all students that are assigned to them at all times. They need to be cognizant of departure times and inform me of any problems that may have taken place on the trip.”–Angelique

Do give out an emergency contact number. Make sure chaperones know how to contact you in the event of an emergency. If you aren’t comfortable giving out your personal cell phone number, find out if your school has a pre-paid phone you can take with you. If not, you can use a program like Google Voice. “I use Google Voice. It rings to my cell, and my personal number is still personal.”–Elena

Don’t underestimate cell phone usage. Some chaperones may end up doing more texting and talking on their cell phones than supervising students. “I generally say something like this: ‘Please pay close attention to the students in your group. Once, on a field trip, my parent volunteers got so busy talking to each other and on their cell phones, they weren’t paying much attention to the students! It made me super nervous!’ It comes out sounding caring but not controlling.”–Lydia

Don’t assume chaperones are in the clear. Some districts require parents to undergo a background check prior to supervising students on a field trip. “Check and see if your district has a set policy… I had to get a background check done before I could go as a chaperone for my granddaughter’s class.”–Susan

Don’t forget say, “Thank you!” Remember that field trips aren’t possible without parent volunteers. Make sure you give parents your heartfelt thanks for their time and effort to make the day a success!

Parent Chaperones Field Trip

Also, be sure to check out our Best Field Trip Ideas for Every Age and Interest (Virtual Options Too!)

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The Definitive Guide to Parent Chaperones

The Definitive Guide to Parent Chaperones

Whether it’s your first time recruiting a parent chaperone for your next field trip or your 20 th , this complete guide has you covered with all the do’s and don’ts.

Field trips are often some of the most anticipated days of the school year for students but can sometimes be a source of anxiety for teachers and organizers. We get it; finding a great chaperone isn’t easy. And then once you do, what are some of the things they should do to ensure everyone has a terrific, and most importantly, safe trip? 

Plan a better field trip for everyone by employing parent chaperones and watch your hectic day transform into an unforgettable experience not only for students, but for any adults who tag along for the ride. Here, we offer some do’s, don’ts, and a few tips to get the most out of your next field trip.


  • Start recruiting early as most parents’ schedules are busy, especially during the week. For those who have trouble finding enough chaperones, your short-notice requests may be the culprit.
  • Send out a mass email or letter home with students with the date of the field trip far in advance. This allows parents to take off work and plan accordingly (and forces you to start organizing ahead of time).
  • To encourage parent participation, do describe what the trip entails in detail.
  • Know what qualifications and expectations you have in advance which will eliminate any hard feelings while ensuring the best possible trip experience for everyone.
  • Highlight the educational and recreational benefits of the event and how the parents can be directly involved in their child’s learning. Parents are more likely to sign up to be a chaperone if they realize that their presence will make a positive impact on their child’s experience.


  • Make sure your chaperones are dressed appropriately for the trip and remind them to arrive with all the necessary field trip essentials (including lunch, if not provided).
  • Print out the schedule/itinerary for the day, as well as any maps or directions needed.
  • If students are required to complete an assignment during the field trip, provide chaperones with that homework.
  • Provide chaperones with your contact information in case of emergency.
  • Provide chaperones with a short description of each child. Student’s name, hair color, and color of clothing will all help chaperones keep an eye on each child and better track down a lost student.
  • Do make chaperones feel more welcome by introducing them to each other and encouraging parent involvement once you reach your field trip destination – parents should not be bystanders.
  • Post-trip be sure to properly thank your chaperones by sending a thank-you note home with their child within a week after the outing along with any photos that were taken. If time allows, ask each student to write a letter thanking their group’s chaperone leader and describing their favorite memories from the day. Thoroughly thanking each parent chaperone ensures that they don’t feel like mere babysitters. Chaperoning should be more than just herding students around, it should be a way for parents to connect with their child’s education and experience the interactive learning from which their child benefits.


  • Ensure there are enough adult chaperones going with you. The number needed relates directly to how many students are going, but there should never be less than two adults per group.
  • Speaking of numbers, do make sure to keep groups as small as possible. Even the most organized of chaperones can feel a little overwhelmed with a herd of children to look after, especially if the field trip venue is large and crowded. Ease parents’ worries and make it easier on everyone by keeping groups to under 10 students per chaperone.
  • Assign parent chaperones to groups with their child – this may seem obvious, but parent chaperones should lead groups that include their own child to make the day more fun for them both. Not to mention, children are more likely to behave when their parents are around.
  • Within groups, assign student partners to increase students’ accountability and minimize the chance of losing someone along the way.
  • When taking attendance throughout the day, do ask students to give their partner a high-five – that way, a child’s absence is more likely to be noticed.
  • If the trip is mixed gender, do make sure there is at least one adult for each sex. 
  • When choosing chaperones, the most important piece of advice to remember is don’t worry about hurting feelings. Parent chaperone choices should be based on which individuals would make the best chaperone – not which parent emails you the most or the nicest parent of the bunch. 
  • The safety of the group and the logistics of the trip should be the top priority, so the most responsible parents are the best choices as well as the parents who maintain a positive attitude no matter the situation. If all willing chaperones are equally qualified, picking names out of a hat is the best method.
  • Just like in the theater, it’s a good idea to have an ‘understudy’ ready to step in in case a scheduled chaperone can’t make the trip. 


  •  Have experience working with adolescents
  •  Be willing to help plan and facilitate activities
  •  Able to attend all pre-tour meetings
  •  Assist with documentation needs such as passports and visas
  •  Prepared to spend money on items not covered in the tour
  •  Be able to chaperone small groups of students on flights or tours
  •  Be able to follow all tour guidelines in respect to student expectations


  •  Be on call 24/7 in case of emergency
  •  Assist with student disciplinary matters
  •  Responsible for small groups of students throughout the tour
  •  Help facilitate curfews and room checks at night
  • Stay behind if a student is too ill to participate in the day’s activities
  • Accompany a student home in case of severe illness
  • Make sure students are ready at the proper time
  • Monitor activities during free time
  • Willingness to accompany students on free day excursions
  • Ability to take over the group if the lead teacher cannot complete the tour

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By Kristen 4 Comments

Chaperone Field Trip Survival Tips

Read to find out 8 tips for Leading a Small Group of Children, 5 Questions to Ask Before You Leave, and the Top 10 Tips for Successful Chaperoning.

chaperone a field trip

  8 Tips for Leading a Small Group

  • You are in charge of someone’s precious child!  Treat them like gold!
  • Your job at the beginning of the day is to know how you’re going to get them to the end of the day.
  • Assign students partners.  They feel a sense of responsibility too.
  • Always count them, every step of the way.  If you start with 5 kids, you want to end the day with them!
  • Learn your students names.  For safety reasons, students should not wear name tags with their names on them.  They may wear tags that have the school’s phone number on them.
  • Always – Safety First!
  • Never leave your students unattended.  Find another chaperone to partner with for the day.
  • Bring an empty backpack – you may end up carrying all of the lunches.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Leave

  • Schedule for the day (stick to it and make sure you meet the bus on time).
  • Teacher’s Cell Phone Number
  • Plan for taking opposite sex children to the bathroom.
  • What to do if someone misbehaves or there is a medical emergency.
  • Will the teacher be walking around or stay in one central location?

Top 10 Tips for Successful Chaperoning

  • Take 2 Tylenol before you begin.
  • Drive separately if you can or want to.
  • Do not ask about or plan on bringing a sibling.
  • Talk to your own child about appropriate behavior (sometimes they’re the worst – sorry to say!)
  • Treat your small group like a team.  Say:  Sticking together + great behavior = a great day!  Set high expectations for them!
  • Adhere to cell phone guidelines.  Only use the phone to contact the teacher or other chaperones, do not use it for personal calls during the day.
  • Avoid the gift shop!  Do not purchase things just for kids in your group, your child, or any food related items.
  • If you’ve never been to the location, do some prep ahead of time.  Look at a map on-line or get a book from the library.
  • Check their photography rules.  Some children are not allowed to have pictures taken of them.
  • Watch the clock!

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About Kristen

Kristen is an Elementary Reading Specialist. She is the owner / author behind Busy Kids Happy Mom , a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids. Follow Kristen on Facebook , Pinterest , and subscribe for updates .

What People Are Saying

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at 12:02 pm

I found this on Pinterest and just wanted to add somethings. I work as an after school counselor during the school year and a summer camp counselor during the summer. 1-Brief the kids on what to do if they get lost. Never tell them to go to a trusted adult. Some kids are a little too trusting. Tell them to find a policeman, another chaperone, or to go to a specific place. A lot of places have a first aid station and that’s where we tell the kids to go. They know that if they get separated that we will go straight there. 2-As far as head counts go, I agree they’re important, but they’re not enough. You need to count the kids, then do a roll call or something like it. As it was put in a summer camp training, you may have the right number, but not the right kids! 3-For bathroom breaks, don’t be afraid to open the bathroom door, call out to see if anyone is in there, walk in do a quick once over, and then let a child go in. Anyone with kids will understand, and if they don’t, oh well. 4-You should have a way to get the kids attention and eyes on you. I work with Kindergarteners and I know that getting fourteen five and six year olds to drop what they’re doing and look at me is hard! The kids know that when I clap my hands, they stop talking/doing what they’re doing, repeat the clap and put their eyes one me. You can make up whatever beat you want, but I clap once, pause, clap again, pause, then clap three times fast. Some people raise their hand and say give me five and the kids then raise their hand. Other people say “1, 2, 3, all eyes on me.” Then the kids say “4, 5, 6, my eyes are fixed.”

at 11:53 pm

Great tips Courtney! Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of these ideas out! I especially appreciated the one about calling into the bathroom. A lot of kids are never allowed to go into a public bathroom alone. Take extra care when you’re there. Thanks again!

at 10:13 pm

Know if students in your group have allergies. If they do, monitor closely and know how to use an EPI PEN! Kids with anaphylaxis will always have it with them (or the adult will be assigned to carry it).

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at 10:20 am

Awesome ideas! Will have a chance to use these in the next few weeks. 🙂 Some additional items I’ve brought in the past: magazines, books or mad libs for the long bus rides AND (more importantly) a few gallon sized ziplock bags and paper towels or baby wipes for anyone who gets motion sick. Unfortunately have had to use them, but glad to have them! 🙂

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PTO Today - Room Parent

Field Trip Chaperone Checklist

Volunteering to help chaperone a school field trip is a great way to get involved with your child’s school day.

chaperone a field trip

Not only do parents get a glimpse into the students’ curriculum, but they also get a close look at the social dynamics of their children. For the students, a field trip may seem like all fun and games, but field trips are planned with a purpose. If you volunteer to help on a field trip, teachers need your assistance in making sure some amount of learning happens, the students enjoy themselves in a controlled way, and everyone arrives back at school safely.

chaperone a field trip

Guest Contributor: Caitlin Tobin is a mom to two elementary aged children and a teacher. She currently teaches 4th grade but has experience working with children from nursery school up through freshmen in high school. She loves snack foods, crafty projects, and spreadsheets. She is on a mission to help the world choose the perfect teacher gift and writes about many of her ideas at www.The-Room-Mom.com .

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This Parent Education Event Is a Must (and It’s Free)

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Little Rock Family

5 ways to be the best field trip chaperone.

chaperone a field trip

Teachers have a lot on their plates — so it’s important for parents to step in and help out when they can.

Volunteering to chaperone a field trip is just one way that parents can contribute to their child’s education — and there are many ways that parents can make sure they’re providing help rather than hindering the experience. Here are five ways to best serve.

1. Stick to the Plan

If you’re on a tour, driving from point A to point B or even just playing at a park outdoors, it’s important to stick to the plan the teacher has laid out.

“Please don't take your car of students to get a drive-through treat when everyone else is waiting for you at the destination,” says Vanesa Wood, first grade teacher at Central Arkansas Christian’s North Little Rock campus. “Or, if all students don't have money to buy something extra — pay to play a video game at an arcade, pay for an extra ride, pay for a snack — it may not be a good idea for you to buy something for your child.”

By following the plan, you’ll also set a good example for all of the students who are watching your every move.

2. Take Initiative

If you notice a teacher struggling to clean up a mess or even having to repeat him or herself over and over, think about how you can help.

“When parents see a need and meet it, it is always helpful — like offering to take kids on bathroom breaks or hand out hand wipes at a picnic,” said Tracy Sheehy, a third grade teacher at CAC's Pleasant Valley Elementary campus.

If your own child needs something (such as a drink, a bathroom break or somewhere to sit down), it’s great to see if other kids need the same. Focus on the whole class of students and try not to pinpoint only your son or daughter.

3. Listen and Focus

Field trips are intended to be educational experiences for students — meaning they need to listen, observe and stay focused. As a chaperone, it’s your responsibility to do the same.

“The biggest hindrance on field trips can be parent's phones,” Sheehy said. “I have had a few field trips where the parents were not involved with the learning and their child, but they were off to the side on his/her phone or they were talking with other parents.”

4. Come Prepared

A field trip emergency kit is great to have on hand! It doesn’t need to be fancy, and all of the items you would need can easily be packed in your purse or backpack.

Wood’s go-to list of items includes bandages, wipes, a digital thermometer, disposable sick bags, children’s Tylenol and peppermint candy for upset tummies. Sheehy added neosporin and a water bottle to that list.

5. Prepare Your Student

Whether or not you’re able to serve as a field trip chaperone, it’s important to talk to your child about the purpose of field trips and how they should behave on one.

“Parents should remind their children to take full advantage of the learning that can happen on a field trip,” Sheehy said. “It is about having fun but more importantly it is about the experience and learning.”

Wood added that safety is important, and students run into different scenarios on a field trip than they would in the classroom.

“It's helpful for them to talk to their child about staying with the adult in charge at all times, how to safely cross a street, and to discuss respectful behavior, because they are representing our school,” Wood said.

Get the complete list of educational destinations around Arkansas, with options focused on nature, arts, history, science and more in the latest Field Trip Guide .

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Diy a life you love, the ultimate field trip survival kit: what every chaperone needs.

The end of the school year is almost here. Almost. My son has a lot of fun that’s going to be packed into these last two weeks; a kickball tournament, Science Day, a luau and a field trip to the WWII Museum in New Orleans. Wow! That’s a lot in a few weeks! Guess who’s going on the field trip? That’s right, this mom! Today I’m going to share what a field trip packing list that every chaperone needs have to make the day a success and make you mom of the year!

What to pack for a field trip Pinterest chaperone image.

Essential items for a field trip:

  • Snacks and Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Comfortable and Weather Appropriate Clothing
  • Sun Protection
  • Wet Wipes or Hand Sanitizer
  • Note-Taking Supplies
  • Camera or Smartphone
  • Personal Identification
  • Museum Maps or Guidebooks
  • List of Kids Names in Your Group
  • Plastic Bags
  • Emergency Contact Numbers
  • Handkerchief or Tissues
  • Portable Phone Charger

Snacks and Hydration: Keeping Energized Throughout the Trip

When we get hungry our attention span and focus also drifts and our energy levels plumet. Field trips are fun, but they’re also educational, so it’s important to have our focus on point and energy levels high. There’s also the hanger ! Stave it off for yourself and the kiddos in your group with some healthy snacks.

Some options might be pre-cut veggies, crackers, dried fruit, apples, oranges, granola bars. Be sure to check for any nut allergies before giving the kids anything with them in it!

Be sure to bring wet wipes and hand sanitizer to use before snack or lunch time. That will also be of use for places that might not have ready access to full-size bathrooms with sinks (hello, farm we used to go to!).

When you get five steps from the water fountain you know the kids are going to say they’re thirsty! Be sure that everyone brings their water bottles to fill up and carry with them. I like to get the bottles that they can somehow clip to themselves because you can’t be carrying six kids’ water bottles!

First Aid & Safety: Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

When I went to a farm and pumpkin patch with my son’s first grade class, we had two accidents. One in their pants and one on the concrete. It was such a relief for my son’s teacher that I had everything we needed for both situations!

Carry at least two gallon size plastic bags with you. That will allow you to put anything you don’t want touching your other things in them. Wet pants, used wet wipes with no trash can around, etc.

In a smaller Ziploc bag, create a little first aid kit if you don’t have one in a plastic container. You will want to add Band-Aids, Neosporin, pain reliever like Tylenol or Motrin, gauze, and disposable gloves. If you have them, you can also bring disposable cold packs (you pop them and they get cold), a thermometer, and an Epi-pen.

Last but not least in the safety area is sunscreen. I always wear it (at the very least on my face!) because I do not want wrinkles. My mom is almost 60 and she doesn’t look anywhere near it. Hopefully the good genes continue, but it helps that she had me wearing sunscreen as a kid, but then makeup with sunscreen in it from the very beginning! Kid your kids cancer and wrinkle free by putting sunscreen on them whenever they’re going to be outside for more than 10 minutes. Bring a bottle with you for reapplication and for those who forgot it.

Comfort is King!

No matter where you’re going on a field trip to, it’s important that you’re comfortable while you’re there. I’m the world’s worst about wanting to be cute over comfortable. That should go out the window when you’ll be chaperoning ten or more kids on your own! Well not completely, but it should take a second-row seat lol!

Wear comfortable shoes! I like to wear my Steve Madden super cushiony ballet flats. I don’t do tennis shoes otherwise that would be the way to go.

Bring a cardigan if you’ll be indoors or outdoors in a cooler climate. If you will be outside in the heat, wear an outfit that fits the weather. Back in first grade I brought a pair of shorts for my son with me to the farm. He ended up running and sweating, so he went in the bathroom and changed into them. He was so happy to have them!

Note-Taking Supplies & Guidebooks

Be sure to brink a little note pad and a pen for notes. That will help you keep track of the info on the kids in your group. I’m the worst at remembering names! You can also write down any emergency information you may need for them and anything the teacher wants you to know about the field trip location. Write down any health information that you might need for littles that they won’t know about themselves. For example, allergies or diabetes or medications. You’ll also want any emergency numbers for parents, the school, and the teachers.

We all know most kids don’t care about the truly educational information about the location. Jot it down and bring it up to them during lunch or after the visit. A lot of teachers ask questions about what they’ve learned there, so make sure your group is the smartest!

Grab any guidebooks that are offered before you begin your tour. Not only is it helpful to have during the trip, they also make great additions to memory or scrapbooks!

I hope that this chaperone packing list helps you relax & have a blast on your field trip!

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How to Survive Your Child’s Field Trip: 8 Tips for Chaperones

By Mavis Butterfield on September 28, 2016 - 11 Comments

chaperone a field trip

Come With a Plan and a Good Memory: Kids are awesome, until they’re not. Think of some fun games you can play with them if you have downtime. Brainstorm ways to remember their names. Decide if you are going to be “good cop” or “bad cop.”

Bring a Good Set of Lungs: While I don’t suggest yelling at kids, trying to gather them after an hour spent running wild on a playground or around a park will be like herding cats. You’ll need to be able to shout. Eyes in the back of your head would also come in handy. Just an FYI.

Sharpen Your Counting Skills: If you arrive back at the bus with one less kid, chances are you’ll never be asked back. If that is your plan, carry on. If not, make sure you have a numbering system to keep track of them. Assign each kid a number and have them sound-off. They’ll think it’s fun and you’ll know you’ve successfully regathered your whole flock. Don’t Forget the Asprin: For you, not them. I’m sure someone would sue you if you gave little Johnny an Advil. But you’ll probably, most likely end up with a headache. Don’t leave home without this.

Pack Earplugs: Just kidding. Maybe.

Seriously though, kids are great. You’ll probably have just as much fun as they do. Or you’ll want to lose your mind. Could go either way.

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September 28, 2016 at 8:14 am

I survived going to Cleveland Metroparks Rainforest and Zoo with 36 3-5 year old preschoolers. Was actually a ton of fun! Also chaperoned same 36 kids to Inventure Place, a museum [of sorts] of inventions through the years, with the bottom floor hands-on for kids. Not so much fun, was pure torture trying to get them back on the bus at the end of the day. Would do it all again though. My father always chaperoned the field trips to natural history and art museums and to see the Cleveland Orchestra, telling me if I ever had kids to volunteer at least once for trips to fun places. I would do it all again, if given the chance.

September 28, 2016 at 11:07 am

I’m with you Kathy, I’d do again in a heartbeat. My kids are now 20 and this is one of the things I miss the most. In grade school kids still WANT to hang out with their parents 😉

Thank you for the post Mavis, it definitely made me chuckle. There was madness and mayhem, but such good memories were made.

Butterflyweed says

September 28, 2016 at 8:50 am

The major thing I DO NOT MISS about having young children is field trips! I went on every single one my two kids had in grade school and it was pretty much a nightmare almost every time.

I also would never drive on one again. So many times it was the parents driving because the bus cost too much. What a liability!

I became a class pariah because the morning of one field trip, my other child woke up with a high fever and sore throat. I had no one else to care for a sick child so I had to let them know I wouldn’t be able to chaperone that day. I RUINED EVERYTHING! Exactly what was I supposed to do? It was also a stupid field trip to a local park to wander around looking for owl pellets. The lady conducting the field trip came to the school instead and they went into some undeveloped property next to the school for the lesson. Seemed to work out fine to me.

I recommend taking that Advil before you even leave the house in the morning. Then another at lunch. Bring extra food, someone is always without their lunch so if you need a mid-day bite, bring something extra or you go without because who can resist a hungry kid?

I think that most field trips are a waste of time and money. It was usually things we had already done as a family.

Carrie says

September 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I am really angered by your comment about the “stupid field trip to a local park”. I am an Environmental Educator who works at a local park. We see thousands of school children a year, majority of which are terrified to step onto our trails. Often times its not the subject matter (owl pellets) that matters but the experience of being in the woods. Children today are so desensitized to our natural world due to electronics being in their faces at home and school they can’t appreciate the beauty around them. There are so many underprivileged children in our country that can’t go on trips with their family that a trip to the local park 5 miles away is a huge deal. What I do matters and is not a waste of time or money (our classes are only $3.50/student!).

It’s usually the parents that make my job difficult. If an instructor is asking a question, it is addressed to the students not a know-it-all parent. Also, leave the cell phones off and put away. It doesn’t matter if you are at a park, museum, ball game or concert hall. Enjoy the time with your child.

Mary from Chattanooga says

September 28, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Mavis has some great pointers in this article and I didn’t see anything about a “stupid” something. She does a fabulous job on each and every topic she writes about. I look forward to her blog each day and I’ve learned so much from her. Have a nice day!

September 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Carrie was referring to Butterflyweed’s post, not Mavis’s. And, I couldn’t agree more with Carrie’s post. There are too many children and adults that are desensitized to the natural world around them. Keep up the good work Mavis and Carrie!

September 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

We live in an affluent rural area. ALL of these kids had been in the woods. ALL had seen deer and raccoons and bears. It makes sense for urban kids to go to parks. Not kids raised on acreage. AND it is a nightmare to keep track of unruly kids in the woods.

Leslie says

September 28, 2016 at 8:57 am

Your list of survival supplies is great! I don’t miss field trips AT ALL…mostly the bus rides. Oh my! Too many times I didn’t remember the aspirin for me!

I’m passing on this list to my nieces who are at the field trip stage!

September 28, 2016 at 11:53 pm

I went on as many as I could as well, so much fun. I’m lucky they still let me go after my 2nd grade incident. I guess it wasn’t exactly a field trip, it was a treasure hunt on school grounds for Halloween. I was put in charge of 8 kids and came back with 2. They kept asking me if they could go to the bathroom or get drinks of water. I would tell them ok. just come right back. My son and his friends always minded me. I found out that others didn’t. So, after that I made sure before hand that I wouldn’t be in charge of a group on the field trips I went on.

September 29, 2016 at 5:56 am

My kids school has a mandatory background check requirement on all parents attending a field trip, which I am thankful for. The school policy for field trips is also to use public transportation which was an eye opener for the suburbs. Once the commuter train took them an hour away from the school, they connected to bus routes and everyone came back safe. I’m sure that called for a lot of Advil.

September 30, 2016 at 2:21 am

I’d like to offer another perspective. I could never attend my children’s field trips because of my job. I’ll always regret that I didn’t attend any. I always hoped that my kids were listening to the chaperones; and that everyone was enjoying the experience.

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7 Helpful Tips for Chaperoning a School Field Trip

Modified on November 27, 2022 at 7:02 PM

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7 Helpful Tips for Chaperoning a School Field Trip

Being a chaperone for your child’s field trip or school event can get hectic and stressful. Some parents enjoy being chaperones for their children’s schools to be more involved in their child’s life and to monitor their child’s behavior. If you volunteer to be a chaperone for a school field trip you must prepare yourself for what is to come. Sometimes chaperones aren’t necessary but are prominently demanded by teachers who teach younger kids. It can be a hassle to be responsible for over 10 kids when you are the only one monitoring them. 

To be a good chaperone, you must have certain skills and attributes that can help you lead younger and more rebellious crowds. Regardless of what type of field trip it is, the students may get out of hand and you should be able to handle certain situations as a chaperone. Here are some helpful tips to help you get ready for chaperoning a school field trip. 

Be Prepared

You must be prepared when you are planning to chaperone a school field trip. Make sure you have all the appropriate items and tools for the trip. If you were appointed to bring snacks, make sure to ask about allergies and preferences. Healthy alternatives are always great to have for field trips as they won’t give sugar rushes like other popular prepackaged snacks. Have them ready ahead of time. Come prepared with cash if you need to pay for extra things like food and admission fees. It is also smart to bring band-aids and other First Aid along with you in case of an accident or emergency. 

Understand what it is that is happening and know the plan of the field trip. Before you leave for the field trip make sure to go over everything with the teacher or leader to make sure you are all on one accord. You want to familiarize yourself with the trip so you know what to do in certain situations and what to wear. 

You should also know certain meal times and meet up points to eliminate any confusion and allow the trip to go smoother. Keep your cell phone or mobile device on you for emergencies or times when you may need to contact your leader or teacher. 

Be Smart About Transportation

Make sure to be smart about transportation. You should definitely consider and advise taking a school bus or charter bus to get your class to the field trip destination. Not only will it be comfortable for everyone but it will provide an easy monitoring process as there will be only one way on and off the bus and room to move around. You can ensure safety and security when using a charter bus. 

Consider how you will be getting to the field trip destination as well. Will you be meeting the group there or riding on the bus along with them, It may be best for you and the teacher’s sake to ride together to save money and help with the students. 

Establish a Relationship with the Leader

Establish a relationship with the leader of the field trip to make sure everything goes smoothly. This doesn’t mean make them your best friend, but communicate enough to where you are all on a similar page. You as a chaperone are supposed to assist with making the field trip go smoothly and you must have some relationship with the teacher to ensure that. 

Parent-teacher relationships are important and if you don’t already have one with your child’s teacher, you should establish one before the field trip. Communication should be a strong skill for those who want to chaperone a school event or field trip. Make sure to practice good communication with the leaders and with the students. You want them both to understand you clearly and effectively. 

Be Focused and Positive

Your attitude will reflect not only your level of authority but your personality as well. When you are chaperoning a school event, you must be positive. If you are assisting younger students, it’s important to lead by example. Children are more receptive at younger ages and can adopt your attitude. Try to remember why you’re there to help bring your attitude back to the positive side. It can be stressful to handle several children at once, but if you are calm and collected, you will help make the field trip smoother. 

You must be focused to be of any assistance. Remember your duties as a chaperone and stick to them. It can be exciting to be experiencing your child’s life during school, but you must keep your focus on every child like they are your own.

Don’t lose the children

The main goal of being a chaperone with a charter bus for a school field trip is to not lose the children. Make sure to count the number of children you are responsible for and learn their names and faces. You should have a good memory to be able to keep up with the kids you are chaperoning. You won’t be able to avoid chaos on a field trip, so you want to at least make sure everyone is together and accounted for. 

Children roam and wander off but it isn’t difficult to miss when a little one scurries off, especially if you are paying attention and keeping up with your duties and responsibilities as a chaperone.  

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6 Lessons from Being a Field Trip Chaperone


The “I-am-a-Field-Trip-Chaperone” club!

Jealous? Maybe a little bit jealous?

The story is this: last year, my then-kindergarten son had a Field Trip to a local children’s science museum. His teacher asked for parent chaperones, and by the time I volunteered, all of the spots were taken. I was disappointed. My son, however, who didn’t even know it would have been an option for me to join his class, never mentioned missing me.

Jump ahead to this year. My daughter is now a kindergartener, and when her teacher (the same one my son had last year) asked for volunteers to accompany the class to the museum, I emailed back my “me, me, me!” response immediately. And, I was in.

This week, the Field Trip arrived. It turned out to be a rough workweek to be out for a Field Trip. I felt torn about not being in the office, worrying I was dropping the ball on work commitments—the quintessential working parent guilt setting in. Additionally, my daughter didn’t even seem excited about the Field Trip; why was I going? I wasn’t so sure, and approached the trip with a bit of why-am-I-doing-this? My husband, ensconced at his office, reminded me that actions like this—the being present in different aspects of our kids’ lives—make a difference. Our daughter would remember it, he said, even if only subconsciously. Buoyed by his pep talk, I smiled widely and embraced my role.

My daughter’s class was split into small groups, with children assigned to a parent chaperone, teacher, or aide. I had three girls to look after during the trip: my daughter and two of her classmates. They behaved beautifully; I was impressed, in fact, by how well all of the kids behaved. They followed directions, sticking together in the museum. My girls explored the space with great energy, looking out for one another, always conscious of where I was.

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t just the kids who did some learning on the trip. I gathered a few lessons along the way, including:

  • If you chaperone, bring Advil. OK, this is a little bit of a joke. (Well, actually, not really.) Kids are loud. Many kids together in one place are really loud , so bring something to address the headache you’re bound to get.
  • Be ready for anything. Those kids are fast, jumping around from exhibit to exhibit, from one spot to another. They run and they dash about. So, wear comfy shoes and bring a water bottle. You need to keep up with your group! Make sure you have a fully charged phone, too. After all, you never know when you’ll need to call for back-up or make a break for it.
  • Little kids can get nervous in new places, so they may want to hold your hand . A lot. They need the reassurance that someone is looking out for them and that they are safe. Bring hand sanitizer. And throw some tissues or wet wipes in your purse; kids are sticky.
  • Remember the parents who can’t be there. While chaperoning isn’t for everyone, it is an activity many parents would like to do but work or other commitments prevent them from doing so. I sent photos of my daughter’s friends to their parents who would have wanted to participate; they appreciated seeing the good times their kids were having. (Note: This might not be kosher with every school or teacher, so check first for permission.)
  • Don’t sit backwards on the school bus. (Just don’t. Trust me on this.)
  • Have fun. My kids aren’t big on sharing their days (“How was school?” I ask every day. “Good,” they answer, adding, “What’s for dinner?”), so the perk of being on the Field Trip was the chance to see my daughter interact with her friends and witness her enthusiasm for new adventures and learning.

Despite my uncertainty that my presence made an impact, my daughter was happy I came along on the Field Trip. The day after, as we walked to school, she slipped her rainbow-stripped mitten into my hand, saying, “Mama, I’m so glad you came on my trip.” She looked up at me, smiling, with her face lit up. I smiled back, pleased with my decision to be there. And, it got me thinking that perhaps I should volunteer for the next Field Trip… maybe…

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I’m glad you got to do this. I’ve gone on a few different trips, and I’ve always found it worthwhile – even with the work guilt and loudness-induced headache!

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I have chaperoned several field trips now that my boys are a bit older and it is SO STRESSFUL. Keeping track of 3 or 4 kids is a lot of work!

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Definitely bring the Advil!! Plus hand sanitizer, wet ones, tissues, etc. I get a new respect for teachers every time I go on a field trip.

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I always love being a chaperone-although I’m generally completely exhausted by the time we get home. Glad you had the chance. Advil is no joke.

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As a former elementary school teacher, I really appreciate these field trip chaperone tips for parents! It’s so important to have fun and be ready for anything. And yes- sitting backwards on the bus is never a good idea! 🙂

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

chaperone a field trip

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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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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The Safest, Easiest Field Trip You've Ever Had

The Safest, Easiest Field Trip You've Ever Had

Help them see the world, the safest, easiest field trip you’ve ever planned..

There’s nothing like a great field trip. Not only are they fun, but studies also show they help students learn more and retain it longer.

Unfortunately, field trips are also in decline. A good trip can be hard to plan, and liability issues mean that when a student gets lost or distracted, a trip can quickly go from great to stressful.

Chaperone helps you create seamless, stress-free trips everyone can enjoy. Our online tools make it easy to plan, get permission from administrators, and collect waivers and fees from parents. And when you’re on a trip, our location and mass messaging technology helps you keep everyone safe and on the same page at all times.

chaperone a field trip

Using Chaperone is Simple

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1. Use Chaperone’s tools to prepare

Chaperone makes it easy to prepare for a field trip. Use our pre-built form to request and receive administrative permission. Create and collect permission slips and fees using our easy communications platform, all electronically.

chaperone a field trip

2. Give each student a communicator.

At the beginning of your field trip, simply hand each student an assigned Chaperone communicator. Each communicator is durable and water resistant, and we guarantee it for life. If anything happens, we’ll replace it, free of charge.

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3. Locate any group member instantly.

Chaperone lets you locate any group member at any time. Look at a map and see the most recent location of each group member. Set an invisible boundary that lets you know if someone leaves the area.

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4. Talk to any student or to all at once.

Chaperone lets any student reach you with the press of a single button. You can also reach out directly to any student or send a mass message to all of your students, anytime you need to.

What Our Users Say About Us

Field trips can be one of the most stressful parts of my job . . . the Chaperone system eliminated so many of those concerns and worries. Marcy – Teacher
Our parents love knowing that even on field trips their children can reach a teacher any time they have a problem. Jeff H – Principal

chaperone a field trip

Under 21? Fun Spot America Florida parks require chaperones. What to know

A head of the busy Fourth of July weekend , a theme park with two Central Florida locations is changing up its guest policy. And parkgoers have mixed reactions.

Fun Spot America Orlando and Kissimmee have implemented a new chaperone policy, requiring all guests under 21 to be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older.

Where is Fun Spot America in Florida?

There are two Fun Spot America locations in Central Florida — 5700 Fun Spot Way in Orlando and 2850 Florida Plaza Boulevard in Kissimmee.

According to TripAdvisor , Kissimmee's location has one roller coaster while Orlando has two. Otherwise, its other rides are slightly similar and both park has a Kid Spot area just for smaller kids.

What is Fun Spot America's chaperone policy?

According to their website, their chaperone policy requires anyone under 21 years of age to be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older. This change is effective immediately and is in place at the Fun Spot parks in Orlando and Kissimmee until further notice.

Detailing more on social media, officials shared that a chaperone can be responsible for up to two guests under 21, though some exceptions can be made for pre-registered groups and large families.

Fun Spot will also be closing the south parking lot and entrance of at least the Orlando location.

Why is Fun Spot America implementing the chaperone policy?

Fun Spot officials shared that this change comes before the upcoming Fourth of July and summer season crowds, saying they want to provide parkgoers will a safe and fun experience.

"(Our) priority has always been to provide our guests a safe, clean, fun experience. As we gear up for the upcoming 4th of July holiday week, one of the busiest tourism weeks of the year in Orlando, we are preparing for increased attendance at our parks," a news release said.

Additionally, ClickOrlando shared that officials has caught wind of a group planning an event on social media and had to put a stop to it. A spokesperson told the outlet they could not elaborate on the name of the group involved or where they saw the event.

'Ridiculous and age-biased' Guests react online to Fun Spot America's chaperone policy

After posting the new rules onto Facebook, over 150 commenters chimed in their opinions on the policy. Many wondered why the age limit was so why, questioning why an 18-year-old would need a chaperone.

"So an adult needs another adult to hold their hand at the amusement park," one commenter joked.

Others expressed more detailed concerns about the policy, such as what single parent with more than two children or a young parent under 21 could do. Some even shared anecdotes of older adults who have created more chaos at the parks than teenagers.

However, other praised the theme park's decision and said it will make them feel safer during future visits. A few added they thought this initiative wouldn't have been implemented unless it was truly necessary.

"Thank you Fun Spot for keeping your park family friendly! I can't wait to come back and enjoy the rides without worrying about large groups of unruly, unsupervised teens," one commenter wrote.

I don't like rides. Do I have to buy a regular Fun Spot America tickets to watch my kids?

Fun Spot America offers a Chauffeur Pass, which costs $19.95 plus tax. This pass is specifically for adults who only want to accompany a child on rides they can’t go on alone. You can ride or drive with your child on these rides.

How much are Fun Spot America tickets?

Single Day Passes for both Fun Spot Orlando and Kissimmee are $59.95 plus tax for all ages. This includes access to unlimited rides on go-kart tracks, rollercoasters, thrill rides and kids’ rides.

There are two types of season passes; regular and ultimate. Regular season passes are $119.95 plus tax and ultimate season passes are $289.95 plus tax.

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Under 21? Fun Spot America Florida parks require chaperones. What to know

Iowa and Kentucky players take a spin on the Head Rush ride during their day off before the Citrus Bowl football game, Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021, at Fun Spot America in Orlando, Fla.

chaperone a field trip

chaperone a field trip

“Can you eat this?” Esraa asked. She picked a small flower from the middle of the trail and showed it to “Ms. Jessica.” “I’m not sure, you might want to ask our guide Krystal - she knows a lot about this stuff!” said Jessica Leung, Manager of Early Talent Diversity Programs at World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Esraa walked up to Krystal Bagnashi, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) research assistant, who explained to her and the group of nine International High School at Largo (International) students how to navigate things that were safe to eat in the Shenandoah Valley. Alongside Rachel Hoffman, another SCBI research assistant, the two co-led the group through a forested area to help identify common trees and bushes like American beech, pawpaw, and Black walnut. 

Esraa, alongside 26 other International students, participated in a two day, overnight trip to SCBI and Eldon Farms. The field trip was part of the Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership program , (EOYAL) a collaboration between Smithsonian and WWF. EOYAL connects students from underrepresented communities to conservation-based careers and builds environmental leadership skills.


The SCBI experience was the fifth field trip of the school year, with other visits including the National Zoo, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History. Smithsonian and WWF staff visit the school regularly as leaders of the after school green club, Society of Earth Savers. 

This group of International students are just one facet of the program across the country. EOYAL currently operates in eight states across 12 high schools through partnerships with Smithsonian Affiliate organizations. This national approach allows for hyper-local connections and peer-to-peer networking between students from different regions. For example, in spring 2024 EOYAL hosted six paid interns, known as the Earth Optimism Ambassador Council, who launched an Instagram campaign highlighting their schools’ Earth Optimism projects. The Council’s students were from Miami, Florida; Helena, Montana; Largo, Maryland; and San Francisco, California. 

National EOYAL participants are all enrolled in Title I high schools, which is defined as an institution receiving significant funding from the Federal Government, due to a high percentage of the school’s students at or below the poverty line. Uniquely, participants from International are all English learners, with cultural heritage rooted in over 13 countries across Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia. While some students may have grown up in rural areas in their home countries, few have taken prolonged trips outdoors to be amongst wildlife and extensive green spaces. Research has well documented that low-income or otherwise disadvantaged communities will disproportionately experience the effects of climate change, so deepening environmental literacy, action and leadership among this constituency is critically important. 

For example, standing deep in the forest with the SCBI research assistants, student Isatu was asked how she felt about the field trip several hours into the outing, and remarked, “I have never been this deep in the forest before because I was always scared…I feel like I have strength now and courage and I can do it again.”  

The program’s mentorship, field trips, and practical workshops are designed to support youth in actively caring for the environment in their local communities - with the additional goal of inspiring them to pursue career paths in this field.


One student expressed the field trip’s impact on him. “I feel so happy right now,” student Elmer told Smithsonian and WWF adult chaperones at the end of the overnight field trip. He spoke to Brian Evans, a Smithsonian staff scientist, on how to find paid conservation opportunities after graduating high school. Elmer reflected on how the Shenandoah valley landscape and immersive nature experiences reminded him of his home country of Guatemala, where he immigrated from two years ago. Upon graduation in 2025, he hopes to find a path forward that allows him to “save the environment and take care of the animals.”

It can be difficult to feel like one is making a difference, especially with an issue as existential as climate change. The fight becomes even more challenging when attempting to educate children about the future of the planet, especially when those youth come from disadvantaged backgrounds. How does one justify teaching about the climate crisis to students who may be food-insecure or struggling with traumas from their home countries? Why should students, who are already in a desperate situation, even care about climate change, when it seems utterly helpless?

The Smithsonian and WWF attempt to answer these questions through the EOYAL program model. Focusing on exposing students to nature and helping them feel safe in the outdoors prove to be an effective way of answering some of these critical questions. So many of the students in the program have never visited a zoo, gathered around a campfire, or gone hiking. By bringing our students to places like SCBI or a recycling center, the program not only exposes them to opportunities that seemed previously inaccessible, it also shows them the myriad of career options that exist in the green sector. Many of our students think their career opportunities are limited (whether due to finances, family history, or a lack of representation). Some had never heard of many of the existing “green jobs” prior to exposure through EOYAL guest speakers and field trips. 

EOYAL stresses education through exposure, experience, and opportunities; students learn from experts who look like them, through hands-on activities on field trips designed specifically for them, and through organizations in their communities, where they are paid for their work. 

This additional step of forming partnerships with community organizations (and NGOs and other government agencies) shows our students that adults are invested in them, and actively listen to what they have to say. It also provides extra support for EOYAL’s teacher partners, who often lack the time or resources to provide these kinds of experiences. The reason we are able to get students to the point of “I have strength and courage now” is because of our community and teacher partnerships. The impact of EOYAL on students demonstrates the benefits of formal-informal educational collaborations.

Teachers are selfless, caring, enthusiastic, and creative individuals who put their students first, above all else. Teaching climate change can be daunting, but educators look at this challenge and see opportunities for learning from students, incorporating cultural and community knowledge into lessons, and endless and boundless optimism. We learn with our students and make sure they know their voices are heard. 

Editor's Note: To learn more about this program, please visit the EOYAL website at: https://affiliations.si.edu/eoyal/ . Plus, join the co-authors of this article for the Smithsonian National Education Summit on July 16-18. Leung and Kemp will present an online session with Katy Fenn of World Wildlife Fund and Lynson Ablaza of Prince George's County Public Schools on Tuesday, July 16 at 1:00 p.m., Eastern. More information about the session line-up and free registration is available here:  https://s.si.edu/EducationSummit2024 .

Jessica Leung

Jessica Leung | READ MORE

Jessica Leung manages World Wildlife Fund’s diversity-focused internship program. She leads WWF's partnership with Smithsonian Institution in the Earth Optimism Youth Action and Leadership program, supporting high school students in environmental literacy. Previously she worked at C2ES and Calpine Corporation. She has a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Davis and a master’s degree from Yale School of the Environment.

Lexie Kemp

Lexie Kemp | READ MORE

Lexie Kemp is the program manager for the Smithsonian Institution’s Earth Optimism Youth Action & Leadership initiative and is a passionate environmental educator. She received a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a Master of Professional Science in fisheries management and conservation from the University of Miami, and interned for a year at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Lexie has experience teaching people of all ages (K-gray) and her favorite thing to do is share her love of nature with others. 

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On Their First Date, Her Younger Brother Played Chaperone

Kaylah Howard was allowed to go to the movies with Jamauri Bogan in high school only if her 4-year-old brother went along.

The smiling couple stand holding hands on a cobblestone road in front of the lawn of a white building. The groom, left, is wearing a black tuxedo and the bride is wearing a white lace mermaid gown with spaghetti straps and a catheral veil.

By Rosalie R. Radomsky

Jamauri Amir Bogan got Kaylah Kasmir Howard’s attention the only way he knew how in fifth grade.

“I teased her,” said Mr. Bogan, who had a crush on Ms. Howard in 2008 at Central Five Jefferson in Union, N.J., and tried to stay cool in front of his friends when he saw her at lunch or recess. They are now 28.

In sixth grade, at Burnet Middle School, he was a bit more courageous, and asked her to be his girlfriend.

“She became No. 1 on my Myspace top friends,” he said.

Otherwise, they were clueless.

“I was very, very nervous,” she said, “and shy.”

After two weeks the relationship fizzled out, and they went back to being friends.

“We couldn’t get the words out,” he said. “They came out later in life.”

In 2011, they frequently met each other at outdoor Union Farmers track practice in the spring of their freshman year at Union High School. During the summer, they even shared their first kiss on the field.

“I was focused on being the best football player possible,” said Mr. Bogan, who played running back and became Gatorade New Jersey Football Player of the Year in December.

In October, to his relief, Ms. Howard, made a move.

“I had my best friend go up to him and tell him that I like him a lot and that he should be my boyfriend,” she said.

He told himself he would make the relationship official if his football team won the game that Friday.

“I made 300 yards in the first half,” he said, and the team won big. On Monday, Oct. 24, he walked up to her at her locker and asked her to be his girlfriend.

A few weeks later, her mother allowed her to go on their first date to the movies on one condition: She had to take along her 4-year-old brother Eian, one of her five brothers.

“I was so upset,” she said.

Mr. Bogan, unfazed, treated them both to tickets and snacks, and when her brother, to her horror, dropped his red slushy, Mr. Bogan got him another.

“I love Eian,” Mr. Bogan said. “He is my little brother.”

In March 2012, as she was about to turn 16, they had their second date at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant on their own, and dated throughout high school.

They often hung out at his grandparents’ home in Irvington, N.J., and her parents dropped her off at home games every other Friday and afterward she accompanied his family to the Huck Finn Diner.

“He was a great football player,” she said, adding that he received multiple scholarship offers.

In 2014, he decided to attend Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in personal finance and later an M.B.A. He is now the owner of Bogan Developments, a real estate development company in Kalamazoo that specializes in affordable and work force housing.

“I didn’t want to leave New Jersey just yet,” said Ms. Howard, who has a bachelor’s degree in health studies from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., and received an associate degree in nursing from JFK Muhlenberg School in Plainfield, N.J. Ms. Howard, a registered cardiology nurse, is now a charge nurse at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

The night after high school graduation they had dinner, and then tearfully drove around until about 3 a.m., as far as Seaside Heights, on the Jersey Shore. The next day he left for summer football practice, and they continued dating 700 miles apart.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

“I actually took my car with my friend and we drove 20 hours round trip and stayed 24 hours,” she said of her freshman year road trip in 2014. “That was how much I loved him.”

They decided to get engaged after she finished nursing school, and in June 2022, halfway through her graduation party at a banquet hall in New Jersey, Mr. Bogan wasted no time.

“My dad pulled a chair out and told me to sit down,” she said. Then, Mr. Bogan, the last one to speak, got down on one knee. A couple of weeks later she moved into his apartment in Kalamazoo.

“She’s my best friend, he said. “She knew me through every change and evolution. It’s beautiful to have that.”

On June 19, also known as Juneteenth , Anthony Mitchell Sr., a pastor at Union Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark, N.J., officiated, before 150 guests, at Park Château Estate & Gardens, an events space in East Brunswick, N.J. The couple jumped the broom, and hired African American vendors, who represented “Black excellence,” she said. Later, their first dance was to Luther Vandross’s “So Amazing.”

“We’re always going to be excited about Juneteenth,” the bride explained. The groom went on: “For what it represents for both our culture and to us as a married couple.”

Weddings Trends and Ideas

Celebrity Wedding Singers: To delight their guests or surprise their partners, some weddings feature live performances from musical headliners .

Bubbly and Botox: For some brides and their party, undergoing a cosmetic procedure or two is an essential component of wedding prep .

Keeping Friendships Intact: The soon-to-be-married couple and their closest friends might experience stress and even tension leading up to their nuptials. Here’s how to avoid a friendship breakup .

‘Edible Haute Couture’: Bastien Blanc-Tailleur, a luxury cake designer based in Paris, creates opulent confections for high-profile clients , including European royalty and American socialites.

Reinventing a Mexican Tradition: Mariachi, a soundtrack for celebration in Mexico, offers a way for couples to honor their heritage  at their weddings.

Something Thrifted: Focused on recycled clothing , some brides are finding their wedding attire on vintage sites and at resale stores.


  1. Field Trip Chaperone Checklist

    chaperone a field trip

  2. {Editable} Field Trip Chaperone Guidelines by Little Lucy Tot School

    chaperone a field trip

  3. 5 Ways to Be the Best Field Trip Chaperone

    chaperone a field trip

  4. Field Trip Chaperone Checklist

    chaperone a field trip

  5. 4 Tips for Being a Good School Field Trip Chaperone

    chaperone a field trip

  6. Chaperone Going on a Field Trip

    chaperone a field trip


  1. 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. If you can, get this ...

  2. Chaperone 101: The Etiquette Of Going On A Field Trip

    The biggest thing that is on our minds as teachers during a field trip (besides the children learning and having a great time) is safety. When we take your children off of school grounds and to another place, we need them to be safe. As a chaperone, you play a part ensuring children's safety. You may be asked to be in charge of a group of ...

  3. 5 Tips for Picking the Best Chaperones for Your School Field Trip

    When you are selecting chaperones for your school field trip, make sure to consider these 5 important things: 1. Reliable and Trustworthy. Your chaperones are your eyes, ears and extra hands and feet to make sure that your students are safe during the field trip. You should do your best to find a chaperone who is reliable - someone that you ...

  4. The Ultimate Guide to Chaperoning a Field Trip

    The goal of any field trip is for everyone to have a good time, so go with the flow and roll with any punches. Chaperoning a field trip can be a ton of fun. With a bit of preparation, it can be easy! Read the teacher's instructions, familiarize yourself with the destination, pack lunch and snacks, and dress appropriately for the weather and ...

  5. Preparing Parent Chaperones for a Field Trip

    Apr 16, 2015. Even though teachers have "eyes in the back of their heads," we can't be everywhere during field trips, so responsible parent chaperones are a must to safely and successfully extend students' learning outside the classroom. Dominique recently asked the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE! for advice on preparing parent chaperones.

  6. The Definitive Guide to Parent Chaperones

    Speaking of numbers, do make sure to keep groups as small as possible. Even the most organized of chaperones can feel a little overwhelmed with a herd of children to look after, especially if the field trip venue is large and crowded. Ease parents' worries and make it easier on everyone by keeping groups to under 10 students per chaperone.

  7. Chaperone Field Trip Survival Tips

    Take 2 Tylenol before you begin. Drive separately if you can or want to. Do not ask about or plan on bringing a sibling. Talk to your own child about appropriate behavior (sometimes they're the worst - sorry to say!) Treat your small group like a team. Say: Sticking together + great behavior = a great day!

  8. Field Trip Chaperone Checklist

    An ideal field trip chaperone meets the majority of the criteria below. 1. DO spread out from the other parents. The main reason teachers ask for parent chaperones on a field trip is for safety. If all parents clump together at the back of the group to chat with each other, you can't help with crowd control and supervise student behavior, which ...

  9. 5 Ways to Be the Best Field Trip Chaperone

    3. Listen and Focus. Field trips are intended to be educational experiences for students — meaning they need to listen, observe and stay focused. As a chaperone, it's your responsibility to do the same. "The biggest hindrance on field trips can be parent's phones," Sheehy said. "I have had a few field trips where the parents were not ...

  10. Field Trip Chaperone Survival Tips

    By tip #4, the field trip is about to start. You've met your fellow chaperones, and a part of you is probably wondering what kids (besides your own) will be assigned to you. This is the fun part. Please take photos of your group, their teacher, and don't forget to get yourself in a picture or two. Please send them to the teacher for sharing ...

  11. Field Trip Essentials: A Chaperone's Key to Packing for Sucess

    Field trips are fun, but they're also educational, so it's important to have our focus on point and energy levels high. There's also the hanger! Stave it off for yourself and the kiddos in your group with some healthy snacks. Some options might be pre-cut veggies, crackers, dried fruit, apples, oranges, granola bars.

  12. How to Survive Your Child's Field Trip: 8 Tips for Chaperones

    Bring Snacks and Lots of Water: In order to survive the day, you need to have plenty of fuel and water. Eat a full breakfast and drink plenty of water. Chasing kids around is no joke! Pack a Survival Kit: In additional to snacks and H2O, I highly suggest loading your backpack with a few key things: BAND-AIDS, BAND-AIDS, and did I mention BAND ...

  13. 7 Helpful Tips for Chaperoning a School Field Trip

    Being a chaperone for your child's field trip or school event can get hectic and stressful. Some parents enjoy being chaperones for their children's schools to be more involved in their child's life and to monitor their child's behavior. If you volunteer to be a chaperone for a school field trip you must prepare yourself for what is to ...

  14. Field Trip Resources

    These resources can add structure to your visit—they're free and usually take about 30 minutes of field trip time. Chaperone Guides: Grades K-5. These chaperone guides help chaperones focus students' explorations and connect their experiences to the Next Generation Science Standards. They don't require students to use paper and pencil ...

  15. 6 Lessons from Being a Field Trip Chaperone

    The "I-am-a-Field-Trip-Chaperone" club! The story is this: last year, my then-kindergarten son had a Field Trip to a local children's science museum. His teacher asked for parent chaperones, and by the time I volunteered, all of the spots were taken.

  16. Chaperoning my first field trip! Any tips? : r/Parenting

    Pay attention to any times you are given and try to stay on schedule as much as is within your control. Be upbeat and fun without giving too much room for the kids to go crazy. They should have a great day, but also need to stay relatively calm/safe. 3.

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

    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 ...

  18. Home

    Using Chaperone is Simple. 1. Use Chaperone's tools to prepare. Chaperone makes it easy to prepare for a field trip. Use our pre-built form to request and receive administrative permission. Create and collect permission slips and fees using our easy communications platform, all electronically. 2. Give each student a communicator.

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

    So there is a field trip to a children's museum on the 20th. They sent home permission slips today and invited family members to chaperone. ... Absolutely go! I was lucky enough to have my mom available to chaperone field trips when I was school aged. I even asked her to be a chaperone on a few high school field trips because I loved it so much ...

  20. Under 21? Fun Spot America Florida parks require chaperones. What ...

    Many wondered why the age limit was so why, questioning why an 18-year-old would need a chaperone. "So an adult needs another adult to hold their hand at the amusement park," one commenter joked.

  21. 628DirtRooster

    Welcome to the 628DirtRooster website where you can find video links to Randy McCaffrey's (AKA DirtRooster) YouTube videos, community support and other resources for the Hobby Beekeepers and the official 628DirtRooster online store where you can find 628DirtRooster hats and shirts, local Mississippi honey and whole lot more!

  22. Inspiring Tomorrow's Earth Optimists Today

    The field trip was part of the Earth Optimism Youth Action and ... "I feel so happy right now," student Elmer told Smithsonian and WWF adult chaperones at the end of the overnight field trip ...

  23. On Their First Date, Her Younger Brother Played Chaperone

    Kaylah Howard was allowed to go to the movies with Jamauri Bogan in high school only if her 4-year-old brother went along. By Rosalie R. Radomsky Jamauri Amir Bogan got Kaylah Kasmir Howard's ...

  24. Plan Your Trip to Elektrostal: Best of Elektrostal Tourism

    A mix of the charming, modern, and tried and true. See all. Apelsin Hotel. 43. from $48/night. Apart Hotel Yantar. 2. from $28/night. Elektrostal Hotel.

  25. Zheleznodorozhny, Russia: All You Need to Know Before You ...

    Can't-miss spots to dine, drink, and feast. Zheleznodorozhny Tourism: Tripadvisor has 1,133 reviews of Zheleznodorozhny Hotels, Attractions, and Restaurants making it your best Zheleznodorozhny resource.


    Elektrostal Hotel, Elektrostal: See 25 traveler reviews, 44 candid photos, and great deals for Elektrostal Hotel, ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / inns in Elektrostal and rated 4 of 5 at Tripadvisor.