As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently led a group of eighth and ninth graders on a trip to Washington, D.C. I have done this several times over many years. I think it is an extremely valuable experience for students to learn about our nation's history and government so that they will one day be better prepared to assume an active role in our republic.
Tragically, the behavior of students touring our nation's capital appears to be deteriorating. Long-time veteran guides and tour coordinators report increasing incidents of poor student behavior on these trips. Once, a rare occurrence, guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns must stop their solemn ceremony for the changing of the guards and sometimes must expel young people from the area as the students refuse to pay proper respect and conduct themselves with appropriate decorum.
Although these student tours frequently take place independent from the schools, I urge teacher leaders, administrators, and school boards to get involved. Decide how you want such tours to be conducted. Select the instructors whom you know will teach and accept only appropriate behavior. Trips of this nature should not be vacations. If so, take them to an amusement park. Make trips to our capital and other important venues a time to build citizenship for our government and reverence for our history.