Mostly adults on student trips

May 4, 2019

KANKAKEE — Adults often make up a big majority of those going on the annual overseas trips organized by a Kankakee High School club.

But the school district points out that no public money goes toward the adults.

In all, the district says its only direct expense for the trips is the use of a school bus to take participants to the airport. In the past, students’ insurance was covered by the district policy that handles all student travel.

“Some school districts separate adults and students,” the district said in a statement in response to Daily Journal questions. “We believe in the value of traveling together. It helps with modeling the travel experience.”

The high school’s Global Ambassadors Club works with EF Educational Tours, a firm that helps many schools arrange trips.

Since 2013, the club has organized summer trips to Europe, including to the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Italy.

This summer’s trip is to Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Thirty people are signed up, consisting of 27 adults and three students.

In 2020, 46 are set to go to Japan. That contingent is made up of 31 adults and 15 students, including one student from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School.

All who travel as chaperones are paid by EF Educational Tours — in other words, no district money. The ratio is one chaperone for six students and adults. The students and non-chaperone adults pay for themselves, according to the district.

The adults on the trips are either current or former district employees or district graduates.

Superintendent Genevra Walters said she and her son have gone on trips twice before and that they are planning to go to Japan.

“We have paid full price,” she said in an interview. “I have never been a chaperone. The responsibilities of the chaperone are pretty intense. They have to make sure kids go into their rooms, and they have to check their passports. Even adults are assigned to chaperones. We have one of the strongest programs in the nation for travel.”

The school district plans the trips years in advance to make them more affordable for students, she said.