Why Fayette County Is Changing Rules For School Trips

Why Fayette County Is Changing Rules For School Trips

New procedures will go into effect Monday, clearly defining roles and expectations for chaperones
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The Fayette County Superintendent says new rules for field trips will go into effect Monday night.

Superintendent Tom Shelton says the new rules spell out what he expects from chaperones, whether they are Fayette County employees, or parents.

Shelton says the behavior he expects in a classroom extends to field trips.  It sounds like common sense, but these changes are not just intended for students, or teachers. 

They are also for parents acting as chaperones.

'Before we really only had the process in place where I could deal with the standards and expectations of my own staff.  This will make sure anyone who is part of the trip follows those guidelines," said Superintendent Tom Shelton.

So why the change? 

Nearly 10 months ago, then Dunbar senior Travis Gaines dove into shallow water, and became paralyzed. 

Gaines was in Florida with the Dunbar baseball team for a spring break baseball tournament.

According to the police report, Gaines' friends told a witness he had been drinking alcohol. 

After the district investigated the incident, the school suspended other students for underage drinking.

At the time of the incident Shelton says the kids were under the supervision of parents who were chaperones on the trip.

"You can't assume that people would follow best practice and guidelines and being reasonable and practical about how situations should be handled by adults who are responsible for children," said Shelton.

Because of the incident, Shelton told us he wanted to look at the rule for field trips.  Shelton says his goal is to keep kids safe.

"The hope is that we move forward from here, and don't have any issues like that in the future, and by making sure everyone is clear about that hopefully we can make sure we can prevent anything like that from happening again," said Shelton.

Since May Fayette County students have gone on 164 overnight field trips.  Tom Shelton says he wishes the changes came quicker, but he says they wanted to get it right. 

When we're talking about child safety, Shelton says that's the most important thing.
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