School-sponsored field trips come every year like clockwork.  Upperclassmen relay stories to underclassmen of the pranks and incidents that occurred on their trips, creating a sense of entitlement among the younger students.  They see these trips as their right, their opportunity to do what they like and indulge in the same misbehavior as their older peers, but these trips are a privilege and behavior must meet certain standards for this privilege to be maintained.

Not only on a school field trip are you representing yourself; you are also representing the school.  Therefore, any grossly improper conduct would not only be an embarrassment to yourself but also to the school and, subsequently, to the rest of the student body.  In recent trips this year, students committed theft and damaged property, and if this type of behavior is a yearly occurrence on both the senior Disney trip and Washington Seminar, why would administration, let alone the hosts of these trips, allow us to return?

There is certainly a moral incentive to behave well on school field trips so as not to ruin the experience for younger students looking forward to that specific trip.  Unfortunately, some will not follow this code, but, instead, will see the trip as an opportunity to enjoy their time in whatever manner they please, regardless of the repercussions for future classes.

Not only do misbehaving students overlook the educational value that those trips might offer, but they also waste their parents’ and the school’s money.  For example, Washington Seminar cost $775 for each attending student, a large sum to be misused. Field trips are offered with a select purpose in mind: to enhance knowledge in a certain subject area or to be a break from the rigorous workload of this district. But when students attend for reasons other than the intended purpose and act out of line, the trip becomes a meaningless, dangerous paid vacation for students.

A trip like Washington Seminar has a great potential for education and long-lasting memories from the hours of independent exploration of the city to the unique speakers, and many students are respectful throughout the whole trip because they truly enjoy the experience.  But the few students who severely misbehave on these trips so far as to break school policies and state laws must be reprimanded in a harsh manner.  As teenagers, we are bound to make mistakes, but that is no excuse for misbehavior.  The severity of the punishment must match that of the crime.

For the sake of those students who legitimately want to enjoy the trips for their intended purposes, we all need to hold ourselves to high standards.  If the only reason you plan on attending a school field trip is so that you think you can perform your antics scot free, then save administration and your classmates the trouble by just staying home.  Not only will you tattoo a mark of shame upon yourself, but you will also ruin the trip for everyone else.

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