Lake Zurich High band parents to be polled on Paris trip
Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board members agreed Thursday night that parents of high school band members should be polled on whether they still want their teenagers to travel to Paris in December 2016 in the wake of last month's terrorist attacks there.
Plans call for the Lake Zurich High School band to play in a 2017 New Year's Day parade in Paris.
District 95 board President Doug Goldberg said it's unfortunate that officials even needed to address whether the pupils should take the planned field trip to Paris. Board members approved the travel request in October but decided to revisit the idea Thursday because of the terrorism attacks.
"Given recent events, it's probably worthwhile, in my opinion, that we reach out to the parents involved and get an idea how they feel about it," Goldberg said.
Goldberg added that officials should stay on top of State Department travel advisories.
Board member Scott McConnell said while he does not disagree with taking safety precautions or polling the parents, it would be "misguided" to believe it's significantly more dangerous to be in Paris than downtown Chicago.
"I would also say I don't think the risk -- the real risk -- is probably any more than they're taking when they get in a car to come to school. It's unlikely that anything's going to happen.
"So, I don't think we should be overreacting. We should do what's smart, but I frankly don't see any reason why they shouldn't be going. It's an awesome educational opportunity."
About 200 band members would travel, along with 12 chaperones and at least two Lake Zurich High instructors from Dec. 27, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017.
Lake Zurich High's band would be part of La Grande Parade de Paris -- Champs Élysées on Jan. 1, 2017. It would be the band's fifth overseas trip.
It would cost $3,000 to $3,200, plus passport, per band member to travel to Paris.
The band students plan to hold fundraisers to help them pay for the trip.
Goldberg said he doesn't expect the parents to be overwhelmingly against the Paris trip.
Lake Zurich High School Principal Kent Nightlinger said a contract has yet to be signed for the trip. He said the school needs to make sure survey feedback is obtained only from band parents of students intending to travel to Paris.
"We can easily put something together to send out to get that feedback," Nightlinger said.