FARMINGTON, Utah — Some parents and students at Farmington High School say they are being denied a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The school’s marching band was recently invited to perform in Hawaii this December at the memorial of the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
“It’s just such a cool opportunity to be able go celebrate our country,” said Paige Olsen, a senior who plays the tuba. “When we announced the trip, you can ask my friends, I started crying.”
But those tears of joy quickly turned to tears of disappointment.
At last week’s meeting of the Davis School Board, by a vote of 5-2, board members decided that the band would not be allowed to travel to Hawaii.
“It was heartbreaking,” Olsen said. “I thought the district would understand how great an opportunity this was.”
The board cited a district travel policy as the basis for its decision.
That policy states that any travel must not require more than three days of absence from class, must not be outside the continental United States and must not cost more than $1,000 per person.
This trip requires students to miss five days of school, takes place outside the continental United States and costs about $2,900 per person.
“If they didn't follow the policy, the news story would be 'Why isn't the school board following its own policy,'” said Chris Williams, a spokesperson for the district.
Parents say the trip would be privately funded by donations and families, but even so, the trip required an exemption from the school board.
That exemption was denied.
“It's not costing the district or the school a single cent,” said Meghan Parrish, a parent of a band member and fundraiser for the band. “For them to go there and feel and see what actually happened is a completely different experience than reading it in a textbook.”
Parents and students are upset an exception won’t be made in this case because of the benefits they believe would result from this trip.
“They need to understand the sacrifices and all that was given to allow them the freedoms, and even this freedom that we have to fight the decision that we don’t agree with,” Parrish said.
“I just really think we should be able to go and respect those who died there,” Olsen added.
With less than six months until the anniversary, as it stands now, the band will have to watch the Pearl Harbor memorial from 3,000 miles away.
In hopes of getting the board to consider a last-minute change of heart, they have organized a change.org petition.