The Tooele County School Board has agreed to allow a group of eighth grade students from Grantsville Junior High to travel to San Diego next year to march in the Holiday Bowl with the Grantsville High School Band.
The school board approved the trip, even though last summer boardmembers stopped a group of Clarke Johnsen Junior High students from attending a competition at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City last October.
The school board gave the green light to the combined- age overnight trip to San Diego at its Dec. 10 meeting.
“It has been our practice in the past that junior high students don’t accompany high school students on overnight travel,” said Maresa Manzione, school board president. “However, the board voted to approve this trip.”
The junior high students that will attend the Holiday Bowl are currently in the seventh-grade.
“We won’t be taking all the junior high band students with us,” said Brandon Larsen, band director. “There will be auditions and the students we take will have already been through band camp and marched with us in parades.”
The school district’s written policy on overnight trips states, “junior high schools shall be allowed overnight trips that are curriculum-based.”
“Curriculum-based” was written into the policy at a time when the junior high school curriculum included a wilderness survival class that required an overnight camp out, explained board member Scott Bryan.
“I have concerns with junior high and high school students traveling together,” he said. “And based on our policy, this trip is not appropriate.”
Bryan and Manzione, however, were outvoted 3-2 by Kathy Taylor, Karen Nelson, and Alan Mouritsen. Board members Carol Jensen and Julia Holt were absent.
After reading the policy at the Dec. 10 school board meeting, Mouritsen said he did not find the request to be out of line.
“You would have to show me something more concrete than what I just read before I believe this is a violation of policy,” he said.
The approval of the Holiday Bowl trip for junior high students comes after the board denied a request last July for Clarke Johnsen Junior High drama students to travel with Stansbury High School students to Cedar City to attend a competition at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
The denial was based on the district policy that restricts junior high overnight travel to trips that are curriculum-based, and a concern for junior high students traveling with older students, according to minutes of the school board’s July 16 meeting.
Jorden Cammack, drama teacher at Clarke Johnsen, noted an inconsistency in board member’s application of their policy.
“It think it is great that these kids get to go on the Holiday Bowl trip. I don’t want to take anything away from them,” she said. “But it is a severe inconsistency. If junior high band students can travel to San Diego next year, then my students should get to go to the Shakespeare competition this fall.”
Manzione said the school board will start a discussion of the travel policy at its January meeting.