by Caitlin Blackmon | staff writer
This summer, AP World History teacher Justin Felux, along with three other teachers, will take about 30 students to Paris, Madrid, Spain, and Rome. However, in light of multiple terrorist attacks that have taken place over the past couple of months, some may be concerned that the trip may instill some uneasiness among students and their parents. However, despite recent events, Felux seems aware of the possible dangers, but does not want students to dwell too much on issues that may or may not take place.
“[It’s] not something that we can really sort of, you know, focus on too much. We can just kind of be aware that it’s a…that it’s a reality and just kind of go on,” Felux said.
The organization, Education First (EF), that offers this opportunity to both students and teachers allows teachers to travel overseas free of charge, as long as they recruit enough students for the trip.
“[These] companies tell the teacher, ‘You can go free if you sign up so many kids.’ So the teachers take advantage of that,” principal John Mehlbrech said.
However, the organization is in no way affiliated with the school or NEISD, and due to recent events, the school administration as well as district personnel have made sure that distinction is understood by all travel participants.
“It’s a travel agency that is putting it all together – it’s their thing. It’s what they’re responsible for, so any concerns, any liability, anything that may happen is not a reflection of Johnson or Northeast,” Mehlbrech said.
This also means that Johnson and NEISD are in no way responsible for responding to any concerns parents may have pertaining to their child’s safety or whereabouts while on the trip. These concerns would be dealt with by the Education First agency.
“If there’s an emergency or anything like that, that’s the sponsors and the company’s [responsibility], and that’s where your parents have to know that,” Mehlbrech said. “That the parents know that you do not contact the school, you do not contact the district.”
In order to ensure that everyone understands this distinction, all meetings, advertising, and funding are not allowed to happen on campus.
“[It’s] got nothing to do with us, so you can’t meet here, you can’t advertise here, you know. You can’t have any funding going through here,” Mehlbrech said. “You can’t do any of that, because we wanna make sure that we’re not involved in this travel.”
And this policy has always been in place with regards to EF travel.
“This is about the fifth trip we’ve done overseas with Johnson kids, so it’s something that we are experienced with and it’s something that we know,” Felux said.
While some parents may be concerned about their children’s safety, Felux went on to say how you can’t necessarily control where, and when, incidencts take place.
“You know, those things are just sort of threats that are always there. Not just in Europe, but I mean anywhere. In the United States, in New York; Boston,” Felux said.
Regardless of the destination, the trip is an opportunity for students to experience new cultures, and also be able to witness the kinds of things they have read about in class.
“[It] kinda makes history come to life in a way and it’s just a really awesome experience,” Felux said.