It’s important for elementary schools to keep parents informed of the dangers their children may face at an event, but a recent viral picture of a student’s permission slip shows that our safety culture has gone too far. Before little Billy can join his friends on a field trip to a local stream, His parents must first accept the possible “danger” their son may face. Parents must accept the fear that their child may touch mud, get his clothes dirty, and come in contact with plants and trees.
The permission slip requires parents to understand and accept that their child may:
- Get his or her shoes wet or dirty
- Get his or her clothes wet or dirty
- Come in contact with the ground through play and activity
- Go out in the rain and snow
- Touch mud
- Walk in the mud
- Come in contact with plants and trees
- See birds, bugs, animals, trees, and plants in a new way.
The best line is the last one, which warns parents that warns parents that their child may learn something. It’s not like this is a trip to a WWII museum; I have to imagine that most children will be able to handle the challenge of seeing nature.
I wonder if all of these conditions must be accepted before the child can go. What if someone’s son has a terrible mud allergy? Or has a strict phobia of grass? It’s great that all these concerns are being noted before the trip, but hopefully there are fallback plans if too many parents don’t want their child exposed to these conditions.