Brandywine Heights School District Trip Ramifications from the Natalee Holloway/Mountain Brook Trip to Aruba


Many have wondered what the impact would be on school sponsored trips to foreign locations or similar type trips that were not sponsored by the school but instead consisted of numerous school age students as its common denominator as in the case of Mountain Brook, AL going to Aruba? The result being the disappearance, mystery and investigation as to what happened to Natalee Holloway.

It has been expected that many such trips such as the one Natalee was on will either never happen again, will be much better supervised or parents will think twice as to allowing their children attend such an event.

We can already see some of the ramifications of the well publicized Natalee Holloway disappearance and backlash of school sponsored travel events in the Brandywine Heights School District-sponsored trip to Spain. Schools are obviously going to have to take a much more proactive stance in the protection of those under their care and do the right thing and stand by those decisions if students can not abide by the rules and act responsible. Such is the case where Spanish teacher Anita L. Lewis left her job at a Brandywine Heights District School on October 21, 2005 citing a lack of support for sending three girls home for breaking rules.

A teacher has quit and some parents have retained an attorney after three teenage girls were sent home from a Brandywine Heights School District-sponsored trip to Spain.

Spanish teacher Anita L. Lewis left her job at the high school on Oct. 21.

Her resignation letter cited a lack of support from the administration following the decision by chaperons to send the girls home from the trip to Spain in June.

The reason why the three girls were sent home from the school sponsored vacation was breaking rules one day into the vacation by leaving their hotel room and had unauthorized guests in their room after curfew.

Students Amanda McCrea, Jackie Sodano and Megan Robb, now seniors, were sent home one day into the week-long trip after they left their hotel room and had unauthorized guests in their room after curfew, according to several sources.

Sources said the girls also did not get up in time to meet the rest of the 27-student group for a tour the next day.

Lewis said the chaperons considered the Holloway matter when deciding to send the Brandywine students home.

“We were thinking, ‘the girls can’t be trusted,’ ” she said. “If they are this bold on the first night, what are we in store for eight nights from now?

“Oftentimes tragedies like this (one in Aruba) begin with some poor judgment, and the girls that were on our trip used extremely poor judgment and trusted strange boys.”

What makes matters even worse in this case and on the foot heels of the Natalee Holloway one in Aruba is that the parents of the three girls now expect to be refunded the cost of the trip in restitution even though they know their daughters broke the rules that were provided to them.

Megan Robb’s father, Daniel, told the Brandywine Heights School Board at a recent public meeting that each family wants $4,000 in restitution: $1,500 for unscheduled airfare home and the $2,500 cost of the trip.

School board solicitor John M. Stott has advised the board that the district doesn’t need to reimburse the families because students on the trip signed a contract acknowledging that they could be sent home for breaking rules.

What a great lesson these parents are providing their children? One would like to think that parents would have sat down and talked with their children when going on such a trip in a post Natalee Holloway/Aruba world? Everyone certainly knows that there has been the opportunity to do so.

The events of the Natalee Holloway disappearance in Aruba provide a platform to discuss these events and how both teenagers and chaperone’s should act in accordance with being in a foreign country. It also provided a platform for parents and their children to discuss responsibility. Please take advantage of it. Whether there was initially a lapse in judgment or being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the case of Natalee Holloway; parents take the time to discuss these things with your children and face the responsibilities yourself if your child breaks the rules. No lapse in judgment or lack of a conversation with your children should ever have to lead to a child’s complete disappearance.

This seems like a good place to start a proper dialog between parents, children and school officials on accountability and responsibility. The end result should be to try to keep put children as safe as we possibly can even knowing that there are some things that our out of our control. This case differs in many ways from the Natalee Holloway disappearance in some way but its still about protecting children.

(Full story from the Reading Eagle)

If you liked this post, you may also like these:

  • This Can’t Be Good For Tourism, Where’s Natalee Holloway
  • Aruban Police Due in States; will talk to Holloway friends with FBI
  • The Mountain Brook, AL Teens
  • Teens on Aruba trip urged to cooperate in the Natalee Holloway Investigation
  • From SM 2005: This Can’t Be Good For Tourism, Where’s Natalee Holloway?

  • Comments

    15 Responses to “Brandywine Heights School District Trip Ramifications from the Natalee Holloway/Mountain Brook Trip to Aruba”

    1. GAMolly on October 29th, 2005 12:25 pm

      Glad to see that at least the majority of these students and the chaperones are treating travel with respect for the potential danger.

    2. mojo on October 29th, 2005 1:12 pm

      good for this teacher – the irresponsibility of the parents and the administration is shocking. if one or more of these girls had been raped or worse, then what? OUTRAGEOUS.

    3. Tazman on October 29th, 2005 1:15 pm

      The school district should offer the teacher her job back.

      The school district should counter sue the parents of the 3 girls who violated the rules on the trip. And, in that counter suit, they should add on an extra $10,000 per child for disrupting the other students during the trip and potentially putting the other students in danger.

      Last, but not least, the school district should kick the 3 girls out of that school (as an example to all other kids for future trips).

    4. Pat on October 29th, 2005 2:19 pm

      The actions of these students can be easily understood by looking at the actions of the parents. These kids probably didn’t just suddenly decide to jump outside of the rules – their attitudes about following rules are learned behavior. Closer inspection would likely reveal that this is not the first infraction…

    5. splashtc on October 29th, 2005 3:16 pm

      Cheers to the level headed chaperons. Break the rules-suffer the consequences. This is life.

    6. 3xangels on October 29th, 2005 6:02 pm

      Thank you for this post Scared Monkeys. I have been waiting to find out how the Natalee Holloway case would affect the “dialog” school/parents/society have in protecting our children and young adults. If the Brandywine Heights School District had really wanted to take a proactive stance in educating these students before this school sponsored trip, they would have discussed the potential dangers of date rape drugs.

      I had the unfortunate experience of being drugged and raped as a college student as the result of being drugged with a date rape drug (i.e. GBH, Rohyphol, estasy). It did not happen traveling, but off-campus at college–so this is a problem that young adults really need to be aware of at home and abroad.

      Young women, like Natalee Holloway, but themselves in terrible jeopardy in many ways–just because they have not been made aware of the risks/effects of date rape drugs. (I had no idea I had been drugged until the rape was actually occurring). So to all of you that think Natalee just may have have been intoxicated at C&C, think again, I can tell you– she could have easily have walked out the doors after having been drugged and could have appeared to all her friends to have just been drinking.

      I would be interested in posting more about this in the discussion forum, but my account needs to be reactivated. When I’m back in the system I will post under the “Crack House Essay”.

    7. Keenstail on October 29th, 2005 6:38 pm

      This is all the result of those darned people on that evil island!!! When will they face their deserved punishment? When will they be forced down the burning pit they all belong??

    8. Jerry on October 30th, 2005 10:08 am

      I know some of you are ragging on me for getting off the subject at hand, but I would like to hear more about the Oct. 8 Videos from Search for Natalee Raise More Questions on this site, especially video 8. Why isn’t this front page news?

    9. concerned on October 30th, 2005 7:35 pm

      I also think the students should have been expelled and and parents counter sued for their actions. Monkey see, monkey do. Those parents should be ashamed!!!

    10. sandy on October 30th, 2005 7:46 pm

      Shame on that schhol district instead of supporting the teacher who had all the students best interest and safty at heart she was given a hard time. They should hire her back with a raise and suspend the 3 students.

    11. Debbie on October 30th, 2005 9:32 pm

      There is never any consequences for bad behavior anymore, and when someone has guts enough to take a stand and dole out the consequences-mommy and daddy step in and sue that person. I can’t stand it! And for the administration to wuss out on that teacher-unbelievable. That teacher deserves a medal.

    12. Jennifer34 on October 31st, 2005 10:58 am

      I wonder what these same “great” parents would be doing if somthing had happened to their daughters.

      It’s about time people are held accountable for their behavior. Might just save a life.

      The scary part is that even after the events in Aruba, people still seem to think it can not happen to them.

    13. leon on October 31st, 2005 11:16 am

      Good for the teacher. Parent wants to get reimbursed, he needs his head examined!

    14. me on October 31st, 2005 11:42 am

      What is wrong with these parents? Bravo to the teacher that quit, she should get her job back, and be handed a medal. The parents that are suing the school have lost it! They are setting such a bad example for their children. That’s the problem with society today. There are too many parents who don’t believe their children can do anything wrong.

    15. me on February 25th, 2007 5:27 pm

      I think everyone should mind their business and do some research on the topic instead of listening to sources that weren’t even present….the parents were right to sue and teachers took the wrong actions by sending the girls home alone. The teachers had also broken some of the rules and in the contract signed none of these rules “broken” by the students were posted. THe teacher resigned on her own because she couldn’t handle the pressure and the students with all those rumors going around still had it in them to finish in the same school. So stop makeing other people’s lives your own concerns.

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