Students continue D.C. trip despite shutdown
Grizzell and Sells middle school students aren't letting the government shutdown the schools' annual trip to Washington, D.C.
As the second week of the government shutdown began this week, students from Grizzell and Sells started their trip to Washington, D.C. The excursion covers U.S. History and helps bring the classes together, district officials said.
"Middle school principals met with our boss Tracey Miller," said Grizzell Middle School Principal Dustin Miller.
"The tour group has been on the ground and has been to all the places we were planning to go and planning alternative plans for all of us."
The trip usually includes a visit to the Smithsonian and the Holocaust Museum so the shutdown will likely hinder that, but Miller said replacements will be found.
"We briefly talked about rescheduling it, but there was a whole backlash of issues from that," he said. "We decided this wasn't going to diminish the educational impact and we were still going to go."
The students arrived in Washington Monday night and Sells students had visited the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorial.
Students usually visit Arlington National Cemetery and that will unlikely be impacted by the shutdown.
A trip to the Capitol might be eliminated because the building is shut down, but if the classes can connect with local representatives they can get a personal tour, Miller said.
With news spreading of talks between Democrats and Republicans to end the shutdown and extend the government's debt limit, the trip remained flexible.
"The itinerary is extremely fluid," Miller said, noting that running behind or a presidential motorcade can change plans in a normal year.
No matter how the government shutdown shakes out, it will serve as a learning experience for students, district officials said.
"Teachers have really built this up," Miller said.
"Eighth-graders take U.S. History so in the lead up to the trip there have been a lot of conversations about why the government is shut down, the ability to shut down, the budget and Obamacare," he said.
"In the curriculum is free speech and in theory that's where protesting comes in."
The trip is also valuable because it serves as a bonding experience for students, Miller said.
"We like going in the fall because it's a bonding experience for the kids," he said.
"There's the bus ride, the hotel and eating. There's education, but another major objective is it bonds the class together."