Kids, News

Grade 8 Trip Cancelled For Safety Reasons

Image: JenniferLWilson88
Image: JenniferLWilson88

Grade 8 students at Amesbury Middle School were looking forward to their big graduation trip to a camp in Eastern Ontario.

They were excited that, after all their hard work at school, they would be able to celebrate their graduation at a place where they could go canoeing, kayaking and swimming.

But the three-day trip has been cancelled after the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) said the planned activities weren’t safe and the kids couldn’t do them.

The TDSB said canoeing, kayaking and archery were too unsafe. They also said the campers could only do two main activities: swimming and rope activities. Students could also have campfires if the camp could prove they were safe, and write down rules in case of injury.

Without all the fun activities, the students—and their parents who would have had to pay $150 each for their children to go on the trip—decided it wasn’t worth it.

They’ll spend one day in Niagara Falls instead.

Amesbury Middle School has been sending graduating students to Camp Walden for years. Students who have gone on the trip said they had a great time and came away with wonderful memories which they wouldn’t have had a chance to get otherwise.

One teacher told The Toronto Star that without all the fun activities, “What are we going to be doing? Swatting mosquitoes?”

About 31 schools visit Camp Walden each year, the camp owner said. He said some of the schools do cut out certain activities for safety reasons, and some of them also request additional information about safety procedures. However, he said the camp is very strict about safety.

He told The Toronto Star that he feels the whole issue was created by a problem in communication and that it could have been resolved.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
If you were to plan a special trip for your class, where would you want to go and why? What activities would you want to do? Do you think this plan would be approved by your school and/or school board – why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
There are many different points of view in this article: the Grade 8 students at Amesbury Middle School, the Toronto District School Board, the staff at Camp Walden, parents of students at Amesbury. What are the points of view of each of these groups? Are there any other points of view that are missing? 

Which point of view do you agree with? Why?

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Homonyms – To, Too, Two
Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings. An example of homonyms in this article are the words: to, too and two. Find where these three words are written in the article and give a definition for each of these words.