Sunday, October 13, 2002

Springboro Junior High cancels Washington trip




By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

At least one Southwest Ohio school has canceled a field trip to Washington, D.C., and another is weighing its options as a sniper remains on the loose in the area surrounding the nation's capital.

“I feel, like, disappointed,” Springboro Junior High eighth-grader David Trifiro said. “I wanted to see the White House because that's where all the news happens.”

Last week, however, the biggest news happened at gas stations and in parking lots as a killer's list of victims in Maryland, Washington and Virginia grew to eight.

David, 14, and 308 other Springboro eighth-graders were supposed to board seven buses for Washington on Oct. 22, but their parents decided Thursday to delay the trip because of the slayings. The vote was 116 to 71, said Phil Rench, principal of Springboro Junior High in northern Warren County.

“On Wednesday I wanted David to go, but now (the sniper) is shooting people in Virginia and I'm relieved that he's not going,” said Diane Trifiro, David's mother and a school board member.

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, a private school in Sycamore Township, also is planning a field trip to Washington in a couple of weeks, spokeswoman Stel Kirbabas said. If the sniper is caught the trip will continue as planned, she said.

“If not, I think there's some thinking that has to be done,” Ms. Kirbabas said.

Springboro's cancellation marks the second straight year that terrorism has interfered with its traditional eighth-grade field trip. Students expecting to see the Smithsonian, the Capitol and Mount Vernon last October were sidetracked because of the Sept. 11 attacks. Instead, they went to Chicago in the spring.

Mr. Rench hopes this year's class can go to Washington in March, but his backup plans include Gettysburg, Pa.., and Williamsburg, Va.

“(Parents) were also concerned about the president (possibly) declaring war on Iraq,” he said. “The sniper wasn't the only concern.”

Several area districts, including Lakota, Cincinnati Hills and Mason, had representatives in Washington to collect their Blue Ribbon School awards last weekend, right after the random attacks began.

“Everyone kind of wondered where the sniper might hit next,” Mason Superintendent Kevin Bright said. “It was a scary situation.”

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com



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