Parents Launch Petition Against Camp Bernie Chaperones
Group seeks ban against fathers who allegedly drank, lit fires, left children unattended during five-hour party.
Verona parents who are angry about a group of fathers who supposedly got drunk at a school camping trip have taken their issue to the Internet.
After demanding that the Verona School Board take action, parents have launched an online petition trying to get the fathers banned from future school trips.
As of Monday, the petition had 20 signatures.
The fathers are accused of leaving their charges while they lit fires and drank alcohol in another cabin during a five-hour party.
The camping trip, at the YMCA Camp Bernie in Port Murray, was for Verona’s fifth graders from the H.B. Whitehorne Middle School.
At the June 19 school board meeting, parents demanded the board take action against the parents.
Schools Superintendent Steven Forte said the district would revamp the way it chooses chaperones in the future and may demand background checks for future trips.
Forte declined taking further action, noting he had discussed the matter with Verona Police Chief Douglas J. Huber, and no laws had been violated.
“Chaperoning is a privilege. If you abuse the privilege, you should not be invited back,” wrote Amy Ambrosio in the petition's comment section.
“These fathers should be banned from future class trips,” parent Palma Quagliata told Patch at the June 19 meeting. “A message needs to be sent.”
The petition reads:
“We as parents expect our children be at school events and learn good and responsible behavior and to be in a safe a environment. What happened at Camp Bernie with individuals breaking rules...drinking alcoholic beverages, bringing food that may attract bears, starting fires in or near cabins and leaving children unattended with the fires burning, and leaving children without a means of emergency assistance if necessary is a major breakdown in responsible individual thinking and behavior.”
“We can and do exercise our responsibility to ensure the safety of all our students,” Verona School Board President John Quattrocchi said Monday. “The administration is developing a set of procedure changes that may include, but are not limited to clearly documenting the expectations of parent chaperones, review of when parents may chaperone versus use of school employees, number of adult chaperones to ensure safety of all students and possibly having the Verona Police or Juvenile Officer attend the overnight trip in the future.”
“We have clear policies in place for both student and adult behavior that are consistent with case law and the rights and responsibilities of public school jurisdiction,” he said.