3000 - Educational Program

3320 - R School Trips - R&P

School trips designed to stimulate student interest and inquiry may be appropriate classroom extensions and may enhance learning in the classroom. School trips may help meet educational goals and objectives by connecting learning with experiences outside of the classroom environment. In order for any school related trip to be approved, the following regulations and procedures must be adhered:


1.      General Guidelines

a.      Definition. A school trip is defined as a student or group of students leaving a school campus under the sponsorship of the school and under the supervision of school employees to extend the educational experiences of that student or group. Any trip made by school students which has not been approved by the Board or school in accordance with School Board Policy shall not be considered to be a school trip.

b.      Non-School Sponsored Trip. A non-school-sponsored trip is defined as a trip organized by a school employee acting as an independent individual, without the sponsorship of the school or school system. Because the Board neither sponsors nor endorses such travel, school employees who organize non-school-sponsored trips involving school students must inform parents/guardians and students that the trip is not sponsored by the school system and that the school system and school officials assume no responsibility or liability for the trip. In addition, the employee must:

1)      Notify the employee's supervisor and the principal(s) of the students involved in the trip and provide documentation that the parental/guardian notice has been given.

2)      Conduct all trip organization and fee collection outside of the employee’s work day; no school time, equipment or facilities may be used to plan or organize non-school-sponsored trips.

c.       Attendance. Student participation in a school trip will not be counted against the student or the school for attendance accounting purposes. Students are, however, responsible for making up school work and tests missed while away on school trips.

d.      Accommodations. Schools must provide accommodations for students with special needs so they may participate in school trips which they would otherwise be entitled to attend.

e.      Potentially-Dangerous Activities. School trips should not involve potentially dangerous activities, including but not limited to non-commercial airplane rides, rock climbing, and water related activities such as wading, swimming, diving, boating, sailing, or cruise ship travel except in limited situations where they provide a unique educational opportunity that directly relates to the curriculum or to a co-curricular activity and are approved by the Board. In addition, a detailed plan to address supervision and safety needs of students must be included when the request is originally submitted to the Superintendent/designee.

f.        Trips outside of the continental United States. School trips out of the continental United States are prohibited.

g.      Trips to Amusement Parks. School trips to amusement parks are prohibited. Trips to attend competition events being held at an amusement park must be approved by the Board of Education.

h.      Deviations Require School Board Approval. Deviations from these guidelines require prior approval of the Board of Education. Schools requesting an exception to these guidelines will need to make a presentation to the Board and include the trip plan and any supporting documentation. Any trips presented to the Board must first have received approval from the School Trip Committee and the Superintendent/designee. In the case of state and national conferences in which students have earned the privilege of participating and prior Board approval is not possible due to time constraints, the superintendent or designee may approve the trip and report to the Board at their next regular meeting.

2.      School Trip Committee

a.      The principal shall appoint a committee of faculty members representing curricular and co-curricular areas of the school to serve as the school trip committee. The principal or designated administrator shall chair this committee. The committee shall review and consider for approval all school trip requests.

b.      The committee is responsible for reviewing all school trip requests and shall ensure that:

1)      All school trips are an integral part of the curriculum.

2)      Student safety and supervision needs have been addressed adequately.

3)      Loss of school time is kept to a minimum, and the time lost is justified by the educational opportunity provided by the trip.

4)      Any fees for participation are as low as feasible and that provisions have been made for students unable to pay.

5)      All provisions of School Board Policy and these guidelines are satisfied.

c.       The committee may approve or deny requests or request further information based on the provisions of School Board Policy. The committee may also grant tentative approval to some requests when it is not possible for the teacher/sponsor to complete all details of the itinerary in advance. When tentative approval is granted, no financial obligations should be made nor should the trip be taken until final approval is granted by the Superintendent’s office and Board of Education, if required.

d.      The committee may establish a process whereby denied requests may be resubmitted for consideration once concerns have been addressed.

e.      The committee shall obtain input from all those on a staff who are affected by such trips.

f.        The committee shall develop an annual plan for all school trips and provide the plan to the Superintendent or designee no later than October 1 of each year. This annual plan shall list all planned school trips for the current year, with a brief summary of each trip containing details known at the time of submission (locations, dates, learning objectives, etc.). The purpose of this annual plan is to facilitate school-wide planning regarding the school trips that should occur and to ensure that the school trips included are a vital part of the educational opportunities provided to students. This annual overview does not take the place of the individual school trip plan that contains all of the required information and logistics for a specific school trip when requesting approval.

g.      The committee shall provide an end-of-year report to the Superintendent or designee summarizing the school trip activities for the year no later than June 15 of each year. This report will reflect any changes to the trips originally submitted as well as list any trips added since the annual school trip plan was submitted at the beginning of the year. The purpose of this end-of-year report is simply to update the annual plan submitted earlier in the school year.

3.      The teacher/sponsor shall:

a.      Submit in writing to the School Trip Committee, chaired by the principal or assistant principal, a detailed plan regarding the school trip. This plan should include:

1)      The purpose for the trip, including the curriculum objectives addressed and the place/places to be visited. The plan should demonstrate that all aspects of the trip provide highly effective means for accomplishing the objective of the curriculum and that the amount of school time lost is justified by the educational opportunity provided by the trip.

2)      A schedule of locations, activities, dates, times, and places of departure and return.

a)      All stops shall be listed; there shall be no unapproved stops.

b)      If a trip includes multiple locations, each location must meet the guidelines set forth in Board Policy.

c)      When determining locations, consideration should be given to parking and safety during the loading/unloading of students.

d)      If the full details of the itinerary are not finalized when the request is made, the school trip committee may or may not give tentative approval. However, the detailed itinerary must be reviewed and approved by the school trip committee before final approval for the trip is granted.

e)      Once approved, the final detailed itinerary must be communicated to parents/guardians along with the permission slip request.

3)      The number of students scheduled to attend, grade level, number of chaperones, and other details related to the safety and supervision of students during the trip.

4)      The fees, if any, which shall be charged to students and be able to verify that the fee waiver process will be followed for students unable to pay.

5)      A plan for coordinating with Child Nutrition. Some issues to consider are:

a)      Whether students will be eating while on the trip

b)      Whether Child Nutrition needs to prepare bagged lunches

c)      If students will be eating a lunch purchased while on the trip, whether Child Nutrition has been notified as to the approximate number of students involved so that they can plan for the reduced numbers when ordering and preparing lunch

d)      If students will be eating a lunch purchased while on the trip, whether provision has been made for students who receive free/reduced lunch

b.      Submit to the chair of the School Trip Committee a completed Activity Bus Request Form at least 2 weeks prior to the date of the trip.

c.       Require all participating students to return a signed permission slip with a parent/guardian signature. Phone calls will be made to parents/guardians to ensure that every participating student returns a signed permission slip.

d.      Secure adequate supervision/chaperones. The number of chaperones shall not be less than one adult per 5 elementary students and one adult per 8 secondary students, with a minimum of two adults in any case. When more than one bus is used to transport students, there shall be at least one adult, other than the driver, on each bus.

e.      Ensure that there are chaperones of the same gender as student participants.

f.        Ensure that all chaperones/volunteers have the required background check before the trip occurs.

g.      Provide training to all chaperones, which shall include at a minimum the expectations for supervision of students. Chaperones should be provided with a plan that ensures that reasonable supervision is provided to students at all times, including during the transportation of students to and from scheduled stops.

h.      Ensure that the only parents/guardians who are allowed to ride the activity bus are those who are serving as chaperones.

i.        Establish a check out procedure to ensure that only the student’s parent/guardian, who is providing transportation to his/her own student, is allowed to check out the student if he/she is not returning to school on the bus. This request must be submitted in writing.

j.  Trips that are outside of the regular curriculum that involve an absence of an entire school day or more must be under the auspices of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction or the North Carolina

High School Athletic Association. These include, but are not expressly limited to, Career and Technical Student Organization competitions, National Beta Club or National Honor Society conferences, or North

Carolina High School Athletic Association-sponsored playoffs and championships.

4.      The principal, in conjunction with the School Trip Committee, shall:

a.      Review written plan to ensure the school trip covers specific curriculum objectives, that the trip is a highly effective means for accomplishing the objectives, and that loss of school time is kept to a minimum and is justified by the educational opportunity provided by the trip.

b.      Submit the School Trip Approval Form to the Superintendent or designee no later than fifteen (15) school days before the trip is to occur. If a trip requires Board approval, it should be presented to the School Board at its regularly scheduled meeting occurring at least fifteen (15) school days before the trip is scheduled to occur; in this case, the School Trip Approval Form and written notice of intent to present to the Board should be submitted to the Superintendent or designee no later than two (2) full weeks before the specified School Board meeting. In cases of competitions in which these notice requirements are not feasible, the principal shall be in communication with the Superintendent or designee to determine the appropriate approval process.

c.       Review, sign, and submit to the Superintendent or designee for approval the completed Activity Bus Request Form.

d.      Ensure that adequate supervision is provided (no less than one adult per 5 elementary or one adult per 8 secondary students, with a minimum of two adults per trip). In determining the number of adults assigned to supervise students during school trips, the principal shall consider such factors as the age, maturity level, and special needs of the students, the length and location of the trip, and the activities planned.

e.      Ensure that all chaperones/volunteers have the required background check before the trip occurs.

f.        Ensure that only the parents/guardians who are serving as chaperones are allowed to ride the activity bus and that no teacher/sponsor or chaperone brings children or students who are not part of the participating group.

g.      Ensure that a plan exists for adequate supervision of students at all times, including during the transportation of students to and from scheduled stops, and that this plan is communicated to all chaperones.

h.      Establish a fee waiver process at the school to address waiving and/or reducing the fees for any student who demonstrates economic hardship. No student will be denied participation in a school trip due to financial hardship.

i.        Ensure that the plan satisfies all requirements of Board Policy 3320 School Trips.

5.      If the request does not require Board approval, the Superintendent or designee will approve or deny the request and notify the principal/designee. If the request requires Board approval, the Superintendent/designee will review the request; if it otherwise satisfies requirements for school trips, he/she will notify the principal or designee of the date of the Board meeting at which the school will have an opportunity to present the request.

6.      Upon receiving the completed Activity Bus Request Form for a previously approved school trip, the Superintendent or designee will review the activity bus request. All approved activity bus requests will then be forwarded to the Transportation Department for scheduling of activity buses.

7.      Once the school trip receives final approval but prior to the trip, the teacher/sponsor:

a.      May begin collecting monies and finalizing transportation plans, etc. Because school trips may be cancelled when necessary, the teacher/sponsor should inquire about refund policies when contracting for services.

b.      Should contact parents/guardians, providing the final detailed itinerary and a request for signed permission slips. The teacher/sponsor should contact parents/guardians by phone or otherwise as needed to attempt to secure signed permission slips for all students scheduled to participate. No student shall participate in a school trip without a permission slip signed by a parent/guardian on file.

c.       Should communicate to students and chaperones the expectations for behavior.

B.      COSTS

1.      Students must not be charged a fee for any required school trip for which credit is granted.

2.      The teacher/sponsor should ensure that any planned fees are as low as feasible and be able to justify the amount charged to the School Trip Committee.

3.      Any fees imposed for school trips will be waived or reduced for students who demonstrate real economic hardship.

4.      If a trip is canceled and any monies have been paid out in advance, the teacher/sponsor should make every effort to retrieve those funds.

5.      Any funds remaining after school trip expenses have been paid should be returned to the students or parents/guardians. If a trip is canceled for which fees were collected, and refunds are possible, the teacher/sponsor should be prepared to share information with parents/guardians as to how the refunds will be handled.

6.      If a trip is canceled for which fees were collected, and refunds are possible, the teacher/sponsor should be prepared to share information with parents/guardians as to how the refunds will be handled.


1.      Written parental/guardian permission on forms provided by the Superintendent’s office is required for each student who participates.

2.      Parents/guardians shall be provided a detailed itinerary and should be notified of any significant change in plans prior to the school trip.

3.      All school employees, volunteers, and students remain subject to all state, school, and district policies during the school trip and all students remain subject to the rules of conduct as presented in Board Policy, including disciplinary consequences.

4.      Since an approved school trip is deemed to be a necessary part of the instructional program, students shall not be denied participation due to prior instances of inappropriate behavior. However, students who are suspended from school during the time in which the school trip will take place will not be eligible to attend.

5.      If it becomes necessary to remove a student from a trip or from an activity during a trip, that student must be supervised by a teacher/chaperone at all times. If a student is sent home, he/she must be accompanied by a teacher/chaperone until he/she is released to the physical custody of a parent/guardian. Any costs incurred, such as the cost of transportation, shall be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

6.      During the school trip, the teacher/sponsor must ensure that:

a.      Adequate supervision is provided at all times.

1)      Students shall not be allowed to have any scheduled free time away from the chaperones while on the trip.

2)      Chaperones should actively supervise students, making a reasonable effort to keep all students in view as much as is feasible. For example,during transportation, chaperones should be seated in a manner that provides adequate visual supervision.

b.      Expectations for students and chaperones are emphasized before leaving and as needed during the trip.

c.       The approved itinerary is adhered to; no unapproved stops shall be made.

d.      Students shall remain subject to all school and district policies and rules of conduct.


1.      Policy 6320, Use of Student Transportation Services, applies to the use of vehicles for all school trips. Because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that passenger vans with a seating capacity of 11 or more, including the driver, can be unsafe in certain conditions, the use of such vehicles to transport students in prohibited. This includes what are commonly referred to as 12- or 15-passenger vans.

2.      All volunteer drivers who are transporting students other than their own children must have a background check conducted prior to the trip.

3.      Only students, staff, and approved volunteers may use school-provided transportation. All students should travel with the group on school-provided transportation. However, the principal may allow a student to travel to and/or from the destination with his or her parent/guardian provided the principal has received written permission from the parent/guardian.

4.      When privately-owned vehicles are to be used by parents/guardians for transporting their own students, parents/guardians of the students are to be notified and the owner of the vehicles and the parents/guardians must acknowledge in writing that they have received notice that the Board's liability insurance does not cover the use of private vehicles to transport students for school activities.

5.      If a school trip will be using a charter bus, the following regulations/procedures shall be followed:

a.      The principal will make the request to use a charter bus to the Transportation Department using the Pender County Schools Motor Coach Trip Form.

b.      The Transportation Department will secure the charter bus only from approved companies.

c.       On the morning of the school trip, a staff member from the Transportation Department will inspect the charter bus to ensure the bus and the driver meets all safety and procedural requirements.



Legal References:
G.S. 115C-47, -276, -288, -307
Cross References:
School Trips (policy 3320), School Safety (policy 1510/4200/7270), Goals and Objectives of the Educaitonal Program (policy 3000), Student Behavior Policies (4300 series), Student Fees (policy 4600), School Volunteers (policy 5015), Visitors to Schools (policy 5020), Use of Student Transportation Services (poilcy 6320)
Friday, 12 July 2013
Last Updated:
Monday, 08 December 2014