- The Washington Times - Monday, October 14, 2002

PHILADELPHIA The sniper shootings in Maryland and Virginia have forced school districts within a bus ride of attractions near Washington and Baltimore to reassess and, in some cases, cancel field trips.
The discussions come one year after similar precautions were taken in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
Ten persons have been shot, eight of them fatally, by a sniper in metropolitan Washington in the past two weeks.
Because of apprehension over the shootings, the West Chester School District in suburban Philadelphia canceled a trip planned for the National Aquarium in Baltimore, an excursion that would have involved about 100 Fern Hill Elementary School students.
David Flamer, the district's director of elementary education, said that after the September 11 terrorist attacks the school created a committee to evaluate the safety of school trips. He said that committee decided to cancel the aquarium trip, scheduled for Friday.
"What we found is that the problem is so random, with these shootings all being in the [Interstate 95] corridor, we decided to err on the side of caution," Mr. Flamer said. "I wouldn't want to have to be the individual to have to report to a parent that something unfortunate happened to a child."
He said the school has a ban on trips to Baltimore and Washington as well as a ban on overseas travel that has been in place since the September 11 attacks.
West Chester is not alone. A group of more than 40 girls soccer teams from New Jersey also decided not to attend a major soccer tournament in metropolitan Washington this weekend. The Washington Area Girls Soccer League, which sponsors the event, said there was too much risk.
In North Carolina, Wake County school administrators have banned school field trips to the area until further notice.

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