Abbotsford parents warned of non-sanctioned trips

The school district has indicated that businesses are promoting trips to students, but they aren't always properly supervised.

The Abbotsford school district is again warning parents of high school kids to be wary of non-sanctioned excursions being marketed to students.

Dave Stephen, the district’s manager of communications, said that every year around this time, businesses promote trips that take place during holiday times and weekends.

He said the trips are advertised as being “overseen (by company personnel) that includes Canadian high school teachers,” but Abbotsford school district staff are not officially part of these vacations.

The concern is the safety of the participating teens and whether they are properly monitored on the trip.

Stephen said another concern is the marketing approach which centres on recruiting a few Grade 11 and 12 students at each school to organize and sign up other students.

“We have reports that some Grade 11 students are being recruited at our schools to be coordinators for next year already,” said superintendent Kevin Godden.

He said materials now being distributed indicate the company’s staff will be holding meetings with students. Godden said these meetings are not approved through any Abbotsford schools.

The school district first expressed concerns about these excursions in 2010, when a group of students, including several from Abbotsford, travelled to the Dominican Republic over spring break. Guests at a hotel in which they were staying reported that some of the kids were drinking alcohol and damaging property.

Any trip sanctioned by the school district requires approval from the board of education and follows a strict set of guidelines, including a code of conduct and supervision levels.

These trips also require parental permission forms to be signed and information to be provided by the school.