Fee Free Field Trips

Leily Zhu, News Editor

Many high school students still get that kindergarten-like flurry of excitement that popped up without fail in the days long past when the two words “field” and “trip” are spoken together. It’s a chance to leave school during the day. Of course, we would pay to be able to do that.

Well now, we no longer have to.

A field trip policy has been newly enforced statewide that public schools in Nebraska are no longer allowed to charge for field trips that are part of the curriculum. The reasoning behind this is that all students are allowed and entitled to a free education and they cannot be charged for a class grade. This does not mean they are now free.

Transportation costs still exist, along with whatever other possible costs the destination and activities may have. But now, rather than requiring the student’s family to cover those costs, MN, as well as all public schools across the state of Nebraska, has to devise ways in which to pay for these educational experiences.

“There are some grant opportunities out there if teachers still want to do field trips because they are an important element, potentially, of a particular class,” Activities Director Chad Zimmerman said.

Some of the cost will also be covered by the department budgets. However, the school is allowed to solicit for donations from parents, MN alumni, and outside organizations. This way, payments are not required, but greatly appreciated.

“I’ve got a daughter here. I think that’s [field trips] are an important opportunity so I would have no problem donating $5-$10 for her to have that experience,” Zimmerman said.

Field trips are an integral part of the Law Studies class. Each year, the class visits the Douglas County Courthouse and the Omaha Correctional Center to observe criminal trials, both misdemeanors and felonies, and to interact with the judges who stay after to answer questions. The students also have the opportunity to visit the prison. Interaction is limited, but two offenders are provided to speak with them.

“It’s an opportunity to teach about the system, to see how courts function in real life. The administration has been more than helpful in coming up with ways to pay for these field trips to ensure the kids get the opportunities,” Law Studies teacher Jeff Salberg said.

This updated policy can change the way class curriculums function, but there are still many ways to continue these annual educational field trips.

“If they’re meaningful, important activities to a class, then we’ll find a way within our building budget to support those activities,” Zimmerman said.