Despite the partial government shutdown, three Dublin middle schools’ students still plan to go to Washington.
Grizzell and Sells Middle School students are set to visit Washington, D.C., next week, with Karrer students departing Oct. 21.
The partial government shutdown started Oct. 1, when Congress and President Obama could not agree on a budget. The shutdown, if it continues, will affect the number of stops the middle schools make but not the trip itself.
The schools work with a Washington tour group that has been around the city this week to check on spots, Grizzell Middle School principal Dustin Miller said.
“They’re one the ground and have been to all the places we’re planning to go and planning alternative plans for all of us,” he said. “Mysteriously, things keep on popping back open. They’re seeing what will be closed for us next week and the next week (for Karrer).”
A few spots students were planning to visit, such as the Holocaust Museum, remain closed.
“We briefly talked about rescheduling it, but there was a whole backlash of issues from that,” Miller said.
The class trips to Washington always carry a flexible schedule in case roads are closed for a presidential motorcade or time is tight, Miller said.
“Even on an off year, every morning a tour guide with the D.C. tour company does a safety audit,” he said, adding that road closures and protests are taken into consideration when planning daily. “Then those itineraries are adjusted accordingly.”
The students are hoping to connect with an Ohio representative, however, to get a tour of the Capitol that is giving no tours because of the shutdown.
“Through family and friends, we’re seeing if we can make a connection to one representative,” Miller said. “We’re hoping that kids will still have a genuine educational experience.”
Although some sites might have to be skipped, Miller said, students will see government in action, even though it’s shut down.
“Teachers have really built this up,” he said. “Eighth-graders take U.S. History so in the lead-up to the trip there has been a lot of conversations about why the government is shut down, the ability to shut down, the budget and Obamacare. In the curriculum is free speech, and in theory that’s where protesting comes in.”
It’s unlikely the Dublin middle school students will get involved in a protest during the upcoming trip, but Miller said the shutdown would provide a different and valuable look at the government.
“From an educational perspective, this will be much greater than going every other year,” he said.