Eden School Board Discusses Controversial Field Trip

Outside investigation on Washington, D.C. trip

Mike Baggerman
March 24, 2017 - 12:57 am

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

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EDEN, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Eden School Board held a meeting on Thursday night at Eden High School and received public comments on a wide range of school-related issues including the controversial field trip students took to Washington, D.C. in January.

The purpose of the controversial field trip to the nation’s capitol was for the students to see the inauguration of President Trump. 

During Wednesday’s edition of WBEN’s Bauerle & Bellavia, allegations surfaced which claim the students spent an extra day on the field trip and even had the option of attending the Washington Women’s March which some say was a liability. Other allegations claim the students stayed at the residence of a person who was not vetted by the Eden Central School District. 

WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman

Michael Byrnes, an Eden School Board member, called into the program on Wednesday to confirm the controversy and explained that the board would have likely denied the request to go to the protest out of safety concerns.  

Students at Thursday’s meeting defended their teacher, who they identified but WBEN will not publish the teacher’s name until confirmation that it was the teacher who organized the field trip. 

“Many students and I are more than willing to testify to the absurdity of these claims,” the student said. “They are unfounded, unwarranted, and untruthful hearsay.”

The student explained that 15 students were on the trip. They were not staying with “friends” of the teacher, but instead, the student’s aunt, who he said previously hosted trips from other school districts.

“During the trip, we were exposed to both sides of the political spectrum as well as learning a great deal about how the government of our country works” the student said. “On the day of the women’s march, we were in fact given a choice to go to the march or go to the Air and Space Museum.”

The student further explained the teacher was important to all the students and he called her a friend. 

However, Patty Krouse, another attendee, slammed the teacher’s actions: 

“Whose idea was it to go to the women’s protest,” she said. “What other administrators knew about these changes? Because if the principal knew, I will guarantee you the superintendent knew. Why were they taken? What disciplinary actions will be given to all parties responsible for this premeditated change in the itinerary?”

Krouse, who has four children, further explained that the teacher allegedly pushed a liberal agenda and that she’s “not above the law”. 

Eden School Board President Paul Shephard provided the following statement to WBEN:

“The board is currently doing an investigation with an outside source and when we get the results of that investigation the board will take any appropriate actions that need to be taken.”

Officials would not comment whether or not the teacher is working or on administrative leave. They also did not confirm the identity of the teacher involved. 

WBEN attempted to contact the teacher who was brought up by the student.

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