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High school trip to Peru interrupted by terrorism threat

Parents criticize school district for lack of adult supervision in dangerous area

— “We called every parent and at 9 a.m. Friday morning we had a meeting to discuss our options, which were to continue the planned itinerary, bring the students back immediately or alter the itinerary,” Dubik said.

The administrators and parents decided to continue the planned itinerary “with modifications,” but, after receiving mixed messages from the state department about the safety hazards in the region, Dubik decided to overrule the group decision and instructed the chaperones to create an alternate itinerary that did not include visits to the major tourist sites that had been threatened, he said.

“It’s not what we expected, and certainly not what we wanted, but by avoiding those destinations but staying in Peru, the students were still able to experience the culture of another country,” Dubik said. “We made the best out of the situation that we could, short of coming home. I just wasn’t willing to take the chance.”

He said that while many of the parents were disappointed in the changes, they understood his position and his decision.

During the trip, the students stayed in Lima and surrounding areas that were not threatened, and the students were never in any immediate danger, he said. He also said that having four chaperones (two male and two female) for 27 students was a better ratio than the school policy calls for, which is typically one chaperone for every 10 students.

Some parents who attended the school board’s Feb. 25 meeting, however, declared their disappointment with the trip, stating that the extra free time in Lima left the students at the hotel, at the hotel pool, nearby soccer field or spending hours at the local outdoor market unsupervised, or poorly supervised, which still was hazardous.

Webster, whose son was on the trip, said during one day the students were left in the outdoor market “by themselves” for four-and-a-half hours. The market, she said, was the same length as from the Cazenovia pier to the Sunoco station.

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