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Jennifer:  Can a school/teacher exclude a child from a field trip because they are worried about a behavior issue? Although behaviorally my child has had very few issues throughout the year they seem to want to exclude her because they are worried about the “what ifs”?

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My son is 9 years old and attends school in El Paso, TX. he has an IEP that states he is “Emotionally Disturbed” he received while we lived in Oklahoma. After we moved to El Paso my son was placed in another school that had his services available. After a month of being in the Behavior Intervention Classroom the school moved my son to the mainstream classroom. There is a field trip upcoming next week and now the teacher in the mainstream classroom has written us that our son will not be allowed to go on field trip due to some outbursts that he had this week. Why all of a sudden when the field trip is coming up, now his behavior is an issue when in the previous three months there has been no issues and the teacher even had told us that our son was great in class. What are his rights?


Since the teacher has told you of some recent outbursts, I suggest talking with the principal or assistant principal about the need for an ARD/IEP meeting to discuss these, & supports so he can attend the field trip. Also put the request in writing. I work for the TX parent training & information center. Our staff in El Paso is available to assist you. 915-259-8717


I have a 12 year old daughter who along with other kids with bad grades who are being bullied are being excluded from the incentive day field trip bec of their grades. I feel that them being excluded bec of that, then other kids know about the bad grades making the bullying worse. I feel those trips should go by behavior, not grades. Is it discrimination? Should the be allowed? I found out that her grades are due to her being bullied & now it’s getting worse bec they found out about her bad grades. She has become quiet & withdrawn because of it.


I suggest learning what state, federal, and local rules say about bullying & the district’s responsibility to deal with it, and work to show that bullying is happening with your child. Allowing bullying violates federal laws.


My daughter has a severe airborne peanut allergy. Her senior class is going on a trip across the country: 5 hour flight. In order for her to go safely, she must fly with Delta Airlines, which has an excellent peanut allergy protocol. The school is taking American Airlines, which is not allergy friendly at all (they have a policy, but it is not enforced).
The school says they cannot legally have a chaperone fly with our daughter on her flight, but that they will get her to the airport for her flight home and get her when she lands at their destination. She is 17 yrs old and has never flown alone before. What if something happens and she is a minor stuck at an airport and her class flies back home? I’m not comfortable with this and I want to press the school to have someone fly with her


Hi My daughter is going to a field trip, shes a 9 years old, type 1 going to a public school and I want to be on a one to one with her and the school is saying that if I wanna to be on a one to one I have to pay for the trip for myself and the only way I wouldnt pay would be If I take care of a group and watch for other kids. Is this how is supposed to be? i cannot accompany her if I dont pay?


I have never heard of a parent having to pay for a trip. You already paid for your daughter. I know sometimes schools ask for parent volunteers. I would ask the principal to get an answer to what is going on


Someone knowledgeable of your state rules, and policies would need to answer this. Your state parent training and information center may be able to assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center


I imagine if you want to provide your own transportation and cost of the field trip (admission to wherever you are going), it shouldn’t be a problem for you to be one on one with your child. The school should not be on the hook for paying for your transportation and admission.


That is accurate. Free field trips are reserved for parents who will be chaperoning students on the field trip. If you are unable/unwilling to do this you should pay for the trip yourself.


Is the school district even allowed to ask if a student receives free/reduced lunch on the field trip permission slip?


Rose, I don’t think so. Why would they be asking that?


Will the students be bringing a sack lunch on the field trip? If so, those might be provided by the school to students who normally have free/reduced lunches.


My daughter has adhd, anxiety and depression. Because of this she has struggled with her grades and attendance. The school has decided to ban her from the social dance and class trip because she is failing two classes. I feel that this is discriminatory and will cause her emotional stress and only worsen her condition. Can the school legally punish a student with a diagnosed emotional disorder and ADHD? Any suggestions on the best tactics in convincing the school to reverse their decision?
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Think long term. If anxiety is an issue and ATTENDANCE–what will motivate her to attend a dance? What will motivate her to go to high school classes and finish? What will motivate her for job training and transition after high school? The hardest thing I had to do was to allow the schools to do their job and implement expectations — it hurt at times but it worked. I felt as I was enabling behaviors and sometimes school staff can help in so many ways. Work with them with some creative ways to motivate her and take the heavy off of you as a parent. I agree that dances are important. Attendance issues may worsen when she knows that she has less to strive for to maintain attendance. Is there anyone who can collaborate with you to think outside the box? All kids deserve a chance.


We have a high school student that is planning on going on our music trip to New York in a week and a half. He has diabetes and refuses to monitor it and take responsibility for what he eats and drinks. He has missed school events on more than one occasion due to low sugar crashes. We do not want him to go on this trip, and the administration does not want to deal with his mother. We have set strict expectation on him and he will have one to one monitoring by a school supervisor on the trip. If he doesn’t follow these guidelines, he will be sent home. Are we wrong on this concern? I don’t see how legally it can be challenged, but what do I know.


If the school attorney has not been contacted for advise on this, they should be.


I have a student in a private Montessori school who was not allowed to go on an overnight trip recently. The classroom teacher and the administration did not ask for input from the Special Education teacher (me) or the ABA Therapist. He is not a violent child at all and communicates very well. He can be loud, requires sensory breaks, likes to touch things, but can be redirected. The student told me his family could not afford the field trip but I found out that the classroom teacher told his Mom he could not go and the Mom lied to the child to spare his feelings. In turn, when I asked the child why he was not going, he said they could not afford it. The ABA therapist and I feel that he has been discriminated against.



Your feelings are correct he is being discriminated against. I see no reason that this young man could not participate in the overnight trip. He could have been easily accommodated with his sensory breaks and maybe even a 1:1 wrap around to help him from touching objects. Tell the parent they can file a complaint because he was left out. I do like the fact that his parents tried to spare his feelings but he should have went.


Jennifer – it doesn’t sound like the school has the right considerations in mind regarding your child going on the field trip. I have been a SpEd teacher for 24 years. This year I work with a student who is aggressive towards peers, and sometimes staff. He has at least one or two big episodes each week. Most occur at recess but sometimes the wrong words out of someone’s mouth will set him off. We have had to restrain this child at least twice this year so far to stop him from injuring another student. My issue is that the district says we have to take all students on field trips but this particular student is a high risk. Opinions?


Is there a way to get a 1:1 wrap around to help control his outburst so that he can still participate in the trip.


Yes, absolutely. If your child poses a problem in the classroom then how can they be trusted to meet expectations outside of the classroom with limited adult supervision. It is in the best interest of you for the safety of your child and the other students in his or her class. Field trips are stressful and can cause a ton of anxiety for teachers alone, throw an unnecessary behavioral issue into the mix and it is not even worth it at all. Maybe you should request that you accompany your daughter on the trip.


You would be very wrong in what you just said there are federal laws that protect our children with ADHD from this exact Situation. I am suing my son’s elementary school at this time because there are federal laws that protect our children especially when they have emotional problems they are not to be secluded as this can cause more damage to their emotional stability Think about what you say before you say it these teachers are paid to take care of our children in the classroom and on field trips

Advocate Pat Howey describes an interesting way to “State Your Case” about transportation for a field trip. Take a look to see if this would work for you. https://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/field.trip.transport.htm


Thanks for the additional input. I do have another question, also of a legal type. If many disabled students were discriminated against in a school system (child find, reasonable accom., etc.) a few years ago, and now some issues have been corrected, could a class action suit be filed for past discrimination?


Can a public school require the statement “Parent to accompany child on field trips” in a 504 plan?


Not legally. 504 & the ADA deal with discrimination. Unless all parents are expected to accompany their child this is discrimination. Your state education agency may help you, but the federal Office of Civil Rights enforces 504 & the ADA. Your state parent training & information center can provide you with information & assistance. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center


Thanks for the reply!! I will check out the link you shared.


My son’s school is excluding him from activities just because other students say they are uncomfortable around him. He is socially awkward but is not mean or threatening in any way. He always apologizes when he does something that upsets anyone even though it is a manifestation of his autism.This has escalated to a bullying issue from the students and to some extent even one of the teachers. If I cannot get this to stop, do I have legal recourse or should I contact the state board of education?


Excluding him from such activities is a violation of IDEA. The school is also required to address bullying. I suggest a letter to the principal & special ed director pointing out that your child is not participating in these activities, & asking for a meetings with administrators, & the IEP team to develop supports so he can participate in these trips & to address his social awkwardness. Also formally report the bullying to the principal as it occurs.


What happens if it’s the school staff and teacher /principal specifically targeting a student with ADHD, high functioning autism and apbergers?
The summer school staff take him 2 times a week to parks, museums, fun zones, libraries. But his teacher(2nd grade) who threatens him in class constantly, belittles him and withholds his recess and lunch for wiggling and talking out of turn and had never read his IEP until after we had asked if she had read it( end of September after school started aug 16) says after we hired a lawyer that all of the sudden he is a “safety concern”


Matthew, have you contacted the Superintendent of the schools or the director of special education? That is an option you can go with. You can also file a state complaint against the school personnel.


Sonsy you do have recourse. Your son is allowed to attend the same activities as his peers. They are not even giving you a good reason other than they are uncomfortable around him. Studies have all shown that disabled peers can in fact flourish when they are with non disabled peers. The school should be working with him on his social skills. Does your son have an IEP? You may want to have that put in there. I would start writing letters first to the principal than the director of special education. If you get nowhere with those than go to the superintendent of your district. If nothing works I would either request a due process hearing to get to the bottom of this or file a state complaint. It is so sad that your son has to go through this.I hope this advice helps you and good luck.


No! If they are truly worried they should have extra staff on hand just in case of meltdown so they are prepared for it. But why take away the opportunity for a child to experience life lessons because they have a disability that may or may not even be the problem they say?


I agree with your opinion. What does the law say though? If a child has meltdowns regularly that are sometimes violent does that make a difference?


That certainly needs to be considered. I feel that these decisions should be made by the IEP team, not by one or 2 people.


Agreed. I just want to know what the law is concerning this. I know there are some laws in place protecting the best interest of the child. However, I am not finding clarity on this. Are there specific criteria for the IEP team to consider? Otherwise it seems to be a biased/feelings based decision.


IDEA says Each school “must take steps, including the provision of supplementary aids & services determined appropriate and necessary by the child’s IEP Team, to provide nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities in the manner necessary to afford children with disabilities an equal opportunity for participation in those services & activities.” 300.107(a)


Does this hold true for students in Private Day Schools also? Can staff hold special needs students in a private day school from attending academic aligned field trips because of their behaviors?


Hi Alicia,

I am still learning the law but i even think Private schools cannot deny a disabled child the right to field trips. I believe they also have to provide supplementary aids and any other services needed.


The Americans with Disabilities Act should apply to these schools. The office of Civil Rights enforces the ADA so their website may have information on this issue.


What do we do if its the Principle and the Spec Ed Director that are causing the bullying by dramatically removing our child in front of other kids because of what he “might” do? What do we do if our child was denied going on a field trip because of what they “might” do, but have never done before? What recourse do we have?


District policy should allow parents to take their concerns to the superintendent, & possibly the school board. IDEA rules give parents dispute resolution processes for situations like this. Your state parent training & information can tell you about how these work in your state & provide you other help. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center



You can request a due process hearing to get to the bottom of why your child was removed in front of other kids. You can also file a complaint with your state education agency. You can even talk to the super independent. You may also need to contact your state and parenting training center. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/


Hello chuck my son is a senior and he is on a 504 plan my son was in a grade forgiveness class and just finished it just waiting on grades o be put in I ask the coach to please wait and give my son a chance he said no