7Th Grade Trip to NYC - Dilemma & Advice

Updated on January 31, 2012
R. asks from Chicago, IL
24 answers

My son is 13 yrs old and in 7th grade. His class is planning a trip to NYC in May and I am having a difficult dilemma. There will be no parent chaperones allowed only school staff. The class will be bused and will stay four days in NYC visiting such sites as the Statue of Libery and 911 Memorial. I think this is a geat opportunity for my son and I am willing to let him go. My problem is his father, he is adamant about not letting him go. His reason is that since no parent chaperones, he does not feel comfortable just with the school staff. He does not trust the school staff. What do I do? Do I still let him go and fight with my husband? Do I go along with my husband and not let my son go?
I have tried talking to my husband but he is not listening. What would you mamas do? What is your advice for me?

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So What Happened?

Ok, so i tried setting up a meeting between school staff and my husband but he was not open to that. He just does not want to let my son go. He thinks my son is too you g and does not trust the staff. In this discusion my husband told me "do whatever you want" and " do whats best for your son". Since than i have tried to talk with my husband but he is not open for discusion he would tell me "you know how i feel about thus". I got the feeling that he would let him go but he was not happy about it. I kept trying to mention meetings but he did not want to hear it. So yesteday he heard that my son was going today and he was livid. My husband says that he fells disrespected, that i spoil them and he was about to leave the house. He did not leave but is treating me like a roommate. I feel bad because i feel i did disrespect him, but he never wanted to talk about it, he was never open for discussion. And i feel bad for my son, he must know whats going on. What should i do? Any advice?

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I don't think it is strange that parents are not allowed to go. That's how it was for my 7th grade trip to Hawaii and my daughter's 6th grade trip. I trust myself but who knows about random parents. I trust the staff who have been through this many times.

At this age my daughter was going to Sea World camp for a week without me, flying across the country to visit her friend in Rhode Island without me. We had/have lots of trips together.

I never would have pulled my daughter from a trip without me. There really should be an orientation meeting for the parents to get all of the information out there and make the parents feel comfortable.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

I'm surprised there haven't been any parent meetings to discuss this topic. I'm sure they have done this before. My nephew went on one last year, from Madison WI to Washington, D.C. He had a blast. No parents but there were several teachers and a couple of assistant principals. Set up a meeting with the teacher in charge to discuss your concerns. Also, see if you can talk to parents of kids who went last year. That might help as well.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Richmond on

I doubt this is the school's first rodeo.

Would his teacher be willing to speak with your husband? Maybe if they laid out the rules and how everything works to him, he might start feeling more comfortable with it.

He obviously trusts the school to a certain extent if he's still allowing your son to attend. This isn't between you and your husband as much as it's between your husband and the school.

I personally think it's important to respect your husband's feelings, HOWEVER, this is a really huge opportunity for your son.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

ask your DH to meet with the principal....& then from there, have him meet the staff responsible for chaperoning the trip. I truly believe this is NOT asking too much of him.....both with the meet/greet & with allowing the field trip. Many, many schools do trips such as this.

My 15yo is headed to Florida & Tenn. with Band this summer. OH!!! & my son's in Scouts....they travel everywhere without us.....for years now!

Perhaps this would ease his mind. :)

& please don't let your son know what's up!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I agree with Rachel. I think you and your husband need to set up a meeting with the staff and find out the nuts and bolts about how the trip works. Your husband needs to write down specific concerns so they can be addressed.

Also I would ask him where this distrust is coming from. Did he have an experience on a school trip that went bad?

Was he a child that did not follow the rules and directions of his teachers and so he thinks your son will be the same?

I have found the parents that tend to be the most distrustful, the most leery or the most nervous, were pretty wild when they were younger and so they do not trust that their children can be contained or controlled enough. Ask your husband what is going on with him.

This trip sounds very exciting, sounds like a milestone for your son and maybe even your husband.

It is hard to admit our children are growing up. They need to have some experiences without us, but still supervised. When your son does great on this trip , he needs to hear you say, "I am so proud of you for doing so great." " I am excited you got to have this experience with your school.".

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

At our school, never had parent chaperones on out of state trips. School
staff only. Always worked out well. These people are with your kids everyday and know them better than some of the parents. I am sure there
will be parent meetings before this trip. Have your husband go and voice
his concerns. See what responses he gets.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

I went on a school trip in the 7th grade to Springfield, IL. It was one of the greatest trips I have ever taken! There were no parent chaperones, only school staff. We were able to have a phone card (most of us didnt have cell phones then) to make long distance calls (provided by our family) to check in with our parents during the trip. Does your husband allow close school fieldtrips? Most school functions are done the same way. Your husband allows the school staff to watch your child during the day for 7 hours at a time without his or other parental supervision. I understand that this is an extended trip, but this is also about teaching your child that you have trust that he will do well and behave without your husband or yourself right there. Honestly, I'm not sure what the difference between school staff or a parent chaperone makes. They will be watched and most activities are done just as a normal fieldtrip would be. That being said, I agree with the others in setting up a parent meeting with the school because I'm sure there are other parents with the same sort of issues. Good Luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If your husband is like this about the 7th grade class trip, just imagine how things will be for all the school years to come -- I predict he will be fighting many things that come along where parents are not part of the equation. He may say this about kids being in the big city "alone" but ask yourself-- is it possibly really about your husband not wanting your son to take this very grown-up step of a trip without a parent?

There should have been, as someone else noted in a post, a parent information meeting about this big a trip. It's not quite February yet, so there is every likelihood that a parent meeting is on the schedule for a little closer to the time of the trip. Get active and don't just "wait to hear" while your husband stews and your son gets upset: Check today with whatever staff member is organizing the trip, and ask if there is a meeting planned. If you're told, "Oh, we don't have that," strongly suggest that you do, and even offer to help organize it and set it up, contact parents, etc. Tell the organizer -- in confidence -- that you have a very balky husband to convince, and plenty of information is the best way to convince him. If your husband feels like this, probably a few other parents might too. A meeting and more information will help them feel more comfortable. He and other parents will relax once they have a hour-by-hour schedule of what the kids will be doing and seeing (this should be provided!) as well as full details on hotels, who the chaperones are and how much experience they have doing this trip in the past, etc.

If the school just won't hold a meeting then say you need as many details as are available at the moment given to you now so you can discuss this with your husband.

This is not the last time you will have this issue come up so fight it with facts and don't make your son the one kid who will be sitting alone, in school, doing extra schoolwork for those four days. That's what schools do with the kids who are denied trips and it singles them out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

what you need to do is realize that your husband has just as much right to have input on this situation as you do. there are some situations that require two "yes", but only one "no" - he has given his "no". is that the end of the story? maybe not. find out if talking to the staff and principal is something your husband would like to do, if so, go with him and support him in getting some questions answered. if not, your son doesn't go. maybe your family could take a summer trip to sightsee if nyc. i gotta say, i don't think i'd allow my kids to go on a trip where i wasn't ALLOWED to go... i 'm sure they have their reasons, but that just wouldn't sit well with me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Oh, such a tricky one. And an issue I anticipate having in a couple of years when my daughter has a trip planned, too!

I second those who say speak with the staff. It may be the fear of the unknown for hubby, it's easy to let our minds wander to awful places with no context. So ask him to speak with them, or maybe there is a parent meeting coming up?

But I will say if he does not change his mind, then I would have to go along with that. It goes that way sometimes in marriage, that when there is one 'no', it's a no. Hopefully hubby is reasonable enough to hear you and agree that the deal is he goes to meet with staff, and if he still feels like it's not ok, then you'll agree to back up his no.

Let us know what happens!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I would not let my child go on a school trip that is over night until they were much older. No matter what everyone else is doing. The "parents not allowed" is a red flag to me, why in the world would they want to be totally responsible for all those kids by themselves if they were planning on keeping a close eye on them. If there is not an adult in each room over night I would not let them go, if there was not enough adults to child ratio during the day I would not let them go.

I guess I would not let them go either at this age. I was in high school before I went out of town overnight with the band. I was a sophomore before we went out of state overnight.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

As a parent I chaperoned a trip last year with my 7th grader. He had an absolute blast and felt sorry for the few kids who weren't allowed to go. By the way, they still had to go to school and sit in class with a younger grade, ugh! All of the parents who went on the trip had to have background checks done and a TB test taken because it was a 3 day trip. I'm guessing this is why they aren't requesting parents to chaperone. It's a lot to ask of a parent. I think your husband thinks there's some strange creepy reason they don't want parents to come. I think he's wrong and you should let your son go. It's a great bonding experience!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

They might be taking only school staff because of liability reasons. School staff have undergone more intense background checks, have more experience supervising large groups of children, and have had years of employment to prove themselves responsible. Parents, on the other hand, have been guilty of letting kids do irresponsible things on trips for various reasons, including wanting to be "cool" with the kids on the trip.

I went to Mexico on a school trip in 7th grade, much more "dangerous" than D.C.

I think your husband should be willing to listen to you, to talk to the school about it, and to provide legitimate reasons backing his decision. BUT, if he does all that and still does not feel comfortable, I personally think you should honor your husband's wishes. (If you were the one who did not want the trip, I would think your husband should honor your wishes.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I lived in Massachusetts for 7-10th grades. In both 7th and 8th grade, my schools took trips to DC. I went both times. My parents didn't come either time. I had amazing trips...experienced things on my own, it was just beyond amazing.

That being said, I don't let my 8 (almost 9 year old) play outside without my supervision. I'm scared of everything. I let her and her younger brothers (almost 7 and 5) play in the backyard alone now that we have a privacy fence, but I also sit right by the back door with it open so I can hear them. It's my own insecurity...I try to not pass it on to them. I trust them, not others.

I can't imagine if my parents hadn't let me go on either trip though. It was such an amazing experience and two I'll never forget.

I know this will be a struggle when my daughter gets older, but I just PRAY I will have the strength to let go. 13 is still young...but at the same time, they need to learn how to live.

Even if hubby says no, I don't know that I'd back him up. I get the united front and completely support that, but he's not uniting with you to even listen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

If he doesn't trust the school staff, find out why. They are already in contact with your child on a regular basis, had to have fingerprints and background checks and are less of an "unknown" than someone's random parent. I would encourage your DH to speak to the chaperones. Know who they are, how things will be handled, etc. Talk to the coordinating teacher and/or the principal. Was he unable to attend parent meetings? Any overnight trip my stepkids went on there was at least one parent meeting.

I went on overnight trips with my FEA group without parents along. I think by 13 you can discuss behavior with your son and if you trust HIM and give him the right tools to handle himself, he'll be fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

To answer your questions specifically, since you said your husband isn't listening when you try to talk - I would back him up. I know it sucks and it isn't fair, but you are part of a parenting team and you need to present a united front.

Obviously, your husband has strong beliefs about this situation, which means he has what he believes are VERY good reasons. Accept that, let him explain to your son why he's not allowed to go, and then support the decision. Allow your son to grieve to you, but don't be sucked into acknowledging that you think your husband is wrong.

That said, I also like the idea of trying to get your husband to discuss his issues with the staff in a last-ditch effort to change his mind.

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answers from Erie on

It's hard to know without knowing why he's resistant. Some possibilities that jump to mind... Your son made a bad choice in the past when out with his school friends. Your son has a troublesome relationship with someone on the staff (and dad fears it could cause problems for him on the trip). Your husband had a previous bad experience with someone on the school staff. Hubby's heard stories about what kids did on prior trips (if this is an annual field trip). Hubby wants to go along. He is generally a worrier... Each of these are valid reasons in the minds of some and not in the minds of others. Also, each of us has a different level of acceptable risk. Without knowing what is causing your husband concern it's tough to know how to address it... I think the starting point is to learn what he thinks could happen and why. Then you can decide if his concern is realistic and how to minimize the risk for your son... good luck :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Why won't the school let parents that want to go go if they pay their way? What do they have to hide?

When my kids were in High School they were in the band and went on a far away field trip every year. The parents were encouraged to go and help with the chaperoning. The parents had to pay their own way, but were encouraged to go. The costs were prohibitive for us most of the time and so my wife and I didn't go. But when the trip was to Austrailia, we saved and helped selling all kinds of stuff so our kids could go. Our other kids also earned money so they could go. My wife and I took 4 kids. We were gone 16 days. It was a tremendous experience. AND the parents were an effective deterrent to mischief.

If the parents can't go even if they pay their way, I'd be very suspect. BTW, a week long trip to WDC isn't the same as a 2 hour trip to the local zoo.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

When my son was 14 and a freshman, he went with the school German Club on a 7 or 8 day trip to Germany and had a wonderful time. I was a little nervous about it, but at the meetings, there was a senior boy who'd traveled extensively who said he'd keep an eye on him. There was only 2 teachers going and about 20 kids. They were told they had to be sure they were up and on the bus every morning and if they missed the bus, they had the itenerary and they would be expected to "catch up" on their own. My son had no intention of missing that bus!!! He had a great time and it was a wonderful experience. However, good to note that he was very independent, self sufficient, and actually worked at a small job since he was 12! BTW...he paid 1/2 of the trip himself! I hope you and your husband can agree to let him go on the trip...it will be great for him!


answers from Stationed Overseas on

When I was in the 5th grade my class planned a trip with the other four 5th grade classes to go to Washington DC. We would stay for 4 days in a hotel. (Yes we did have parent chaperones) My parents weren't going to let me go because of the price. It was $250 a student, luckily for me one of the teachers thought I would benefit from going and paid for me. Your husband is being unreasonable and gamma g is just being paranoid too. School staff goes through rigorous background checks, their finger prints are submitted to the government and everything. You have nothing to worry about. I would let your son go. Just because no parents are going doesn't mean there is a red flag that has to be thrown up, maybe it wasn't in the budget or the insurance on the buses won't cover parents but just cover teaching staff and students. The same thing happened when my husband and I took a trip with his company (he's in the army) to Seoul. The bus in front of us wouldn't let spouses on because the insurance wouldn't cover us so they had to hire another bus for us. Keep that in mind I am sure the school has a good reason for not allowing parents. Hope you and your husband come to an agreement.



answers from Chicago on

Set up a meeting for you, your husband and your son's teacher and/or principal, or whoever you feel the right school personnel is for this appointment. Let your husband express all his concerns to those in charge -- why no parents allowed, how will x,y & z be handled, etc. Just you and your husband trying to duke it out will not get you very far, but maybe he will feel more confident hearing from the "experts." If, after that, he is still unconvinced, you have to do what you feel is best for your child, all things considered. Good luck. I hope a meeting at school does the trick so you don't have to make hard choices that either guarantee a fight or a really sad child.


answers from San Antonio on

My third grader went to the planetarium this past week. No parents were allowed to go as chaperones. Why? Because the planetarium was too small.

Contact the school and find out why they're not allowing parents to go. See if it's a space issue or something else. If it has to do with cost and space, then maybe you and your husband should take a little vacation to NYC at the same time. You can stay in the same hotel and visit the same places (and even do some things on your own!) That way you're there if he needs you, but you're not with them.



answers from Chicago on

your husband doesn't trust people with complete background checks? But he would trust strangers?

I would put down my foot and say that hubby is being silly and ds is trusted all day every day of the week with the school staff, their jobs are on the line if they let anything bad happen, so um, yea, they can and should be trusted.

And can I just say, our school here in Plainfield does a local outdoor ed in 7th grade, no big NYC trip - I am totally jealous that your kid gets to do this!!



answers from Chicago on

When I lived in Phoenix, we had an annual trip for the honor roll kids to Disneyland. I was able to go my 4th, 5th and 6th grade years, so younger than your son is now. I don't remember any parents going with us (but there could have been a few). Those weekends were some of my fondest memories growing up as a child. I hope your husband will listen to reason and let your son go have fun!

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