- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

Many children were going to D.C. museums. Others were planning their exchange trips abroad, while some were looking forward to interning on Capitol Hill.
Not anymore.
Schools across the region are canceling field trips to the District a decision that has left parents relieved and children disappointed in the aftermath of Monday's upgraded terrorist alert.
"There are good reasons to err on the side of caution," said Liza Lombardozzi, a mother of three children who attend Fairfax County public schools. "They are dealing with parents who are naturally protective."
Mrs. Lombardozzi's older children's trip to the "German Fest" at American University was canceled. Then, her eighth-grader's trip to the Kennedy Center was postponed. Her husband, a baseball coach, yesterday was waiting to hear whether his team's trip to Florida will be canceled.
And, seniors at Herndon High School, who only a few days ago couldn't wait to start their Capitol Hill internships, are now waiting for new assignments, Mrs. Lombardozzi said.
"We're dealing with it," she said. "But with the sniper and terrorism, this has been a hard year for kids in this area."
So far, Fairfax County public schools have canceled all field trips to the District and New York City.
Prince George's County schools canceled their planned trips to the District, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia and New York. Montgomery schools canceled trips that are longer than 75 miles. D.C. schools officials are reviewing all trips on a case-by-case basis.
Schools in Anne Arundel, Loudoun and Hartford counties also have canceled trips, many of them to federal buildings.
Trips overseas have been canceled by all school districts.
"These places have been targeted before," said Fairfax County schools spokesman Paul Regnier, referring to the District and New York. "There are reports that it may happen again. The Code Orange tipped this decision. The best thinking is to keep kids safe."
Other school officials agreed that the heightened alert prompted the cancellations.
"Prince George's County's close proximity to Washington, D.C., identified as being at high risk for terrorist attacks, was a determining factor," said Franklin Rishel, chief of staff to the county's schools Chief Executive Officer Iris T. Metts. "The situation will be re-evaluated on a weekly basis."
Montgomery County school officials said they have issued warnings to principals and urged them to discuss any field trip itineraries with parents, spokesman Brian Porter said.
Parents agreed with the schools' decisions.
"It's the right thing to do," said Diane Brody, president of the Fairfax County Council of PTAs. "Some parents are probably upset because of losing down payments. But I don't expect an uproar. They realize the school system has the safety of their children at heart."
Meanwhile, annual spring break trips to Florida, Mexico and other popular beach resorts haven't been directly affected because they are not school-sponsored trips.
The Boston-based American Council for International Studies, which books trips for as many as 30,000 high school students each year, said these are anxious times for the industry.

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