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to give a limited number of religious vetos for school trips

(287 Posts)
mini321 Sun 12-Jul-15 19:51:23

My DS's school is trying to organise a school trip to the far east to encourage the development of new language courses they have put on offer recently.

The person organising quite a complicated trip is being asked by a number of parents about not flying on certain days, not using public transport on those days when away, asking that all food follows religious rules for their children - I feel the organiser will spend more time accommodating this group to the detriment of the trip as a whole.

My memories of trips to the Far East is all about the food because it is so different, seems a shame half the group will miss out but that is their concern I guess.

AIBU to suggest we put a limit to the number of restrictions? (slightly tongue in cheek here smile) but would be interested if any other parents have encountered anything similar?

Maybe the atheists should get some protection from too many restrictions foisted upon them.

FarFromAnyRoad Sun 12-Jul-15 19:56:38

Which religions are making those requests as a matter of interest?

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 12-Jul-15 19:59:48

Are the children old enough to choose to take some of the decission making responsibilities themselves for things like food i.e. Secondary?

mini321 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:01:05

I'd rather not say (but suspect people will guess correctly given the clues but couldn't get around that). I'm avoiding the thread turning into anything aimed at a particular religion - just want to see if others have experienced anything similar where too many such restrictions start affecting the whole group.

mini321 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:03:58

Mis the food would have to be sourced from a prearranged supplier as it is very unusual in that part of the world, to the point where one parent was offering to put the organiser in contact with a company as the organiser said it was probably not possible when first asked!

queenofthepirates Sun 12-Jul-15 20:09:27

Assuming this trip is to China and assuming the parents asking for changes are Jewish (?), I don't think the restrictions are too onerous, especially if these are older pupils. I was a professional travel planner and had plenty of observant Jewish clients. Now assuming your planner is not being pulled every which way by several different religions, this kind of thing can easily be accommodated. If it is a problem, employ a professional planner to take the load for you. Observing the Sabbath and a kosher diet are very important to some and pretty much non negotiable.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 12-Jul-15 20:13:17

You need to think about reasonable adjustments.

Is it reasonable to vary the flight day does that fit with other constraints? I expect thats a reasonable adjustment.

Is it reasonable to restrict moement whilst on the trip - possibly not because the nature of the trip is to move around and experience different things. Restricting travel on certan days may add to the cost of the trip for all and make it too long for some.

If plain food choices (vegetarian?) are available then is catering to a standard beyond that a necessary adjustment.

loveareadingthanks Sun 12-Jul-15 20:14:46

Hard one. I can guess the religion. Its followers vary a great deal as to how far they follow its rulings. some will just avoid certain foods but eat anywhere, others will only eat at places that strictly follow all the rules and are approved by the religion.

I think it's a shame for some children to be excluded from participating from a trip, but on the other hand it doesn't seem reasonable for their families to expect a whole trip to be run under their religions strictest rules for everyone. It's bound to have quite an impact and make the organisation quite difficult. the more extreme members of this religion probably have to accept that travel is only going to be possible if they organise it independently and stay places that cater fully for that religion, or on a group trip specifically for that religion.

so - I'd say some compromise is possible to make it accessible for some of those children, but to arrange the entire trip around following the strictest rules would be unreasonable and unworkable. Assuming this is just an ordinary school and not one affiliated to that religion.

Mygardenistoobig Sun 12-Jul-15 20:17:19

What do the parents suggest they do on the days they can't travel?

Is there enough to do to accommodate this?

Is it easy to arrange the certain foods?

I suppose it depends on how much hassle it is really

I think you will get lots of reply saying yabu, yet look at the threads telling posters not to offer guests any alternative to the food they provide and it is quite a different story.

I suppose that if there are too many restraints then those children have the option not to go. Not a popular view on here.

loveareadingthanks Sun 12-Jul-15 20:17:56

OK, religion has been named, I was trying to avoid that too, OP.

Kosher food goes beyond just 'don't eat this, don't eat that'. for some people, the actual establishment needs to be kosher in its entirety. That's got to create some logistical issues and is going to restrict the other children's ability to try a good range of the local foods. Strictly observing Sabbath is going to make most types of activity on those days very difficult - either those children will have to stay behind in hotel or everyone will have to miss out.

I would have thought vegetarian and fish (excluding shellfish) options would solve most religious dietary requirements.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 12-Jul-15 20:20:41

Well if you have a religious diet you do. You can't drop it for holidays. Neither would I, an atheist vegetarian, change my diet for a school trip.

If I was told I couldn't go as a result e.g. if family homestays were part of it, I'd have to accept that (actually I was told that about a school trip). Don't suppose all children of a particular religion could be excluded though, or told to like it or lump it, especially if they form a significant minority within the school.

CactusAnnie Sun 12-Jul-15 20:22:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lottiegarbanzo Sun 12-Jul-15 20:32:34

And presumably the organiser knew who the relevant pupils were - those studying the language - before they offered to organise.

TheyreMadITellYouMaaaad Sun 12-Jul-15 20:45:30

You take whatever steps you can to accommodate restrictions. If it is possible to organise for strictly kosher food to be available, then you do so, but you do not expect other pupils to be restricted to it. You ensure that truly vegetarian food is always available. You organise relatively local activities for Friday evening/Saturday day, so that the group remains within walking distance of the hotel, or else the group can be split and the religious Jewish pupils, together with a member of staff, remain within walking distance of the hotel while the rest of the group go further afield for the day. You try to organise travel not to be on Sabbath.

You try, you investigate all possibilities. You present what options you can offer, and the pupils' parents decide whether or not their children can go.

They have to decide their priorities.

mini321 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:46:58

lottie the organiser is from a 3rd party educational company so we get the experience and network that they have with such trips - on hearing all then requests the organiser was very keen to do their best to accommodate but I did feel for him and also think devoting energy to planning the activities would be better placed for all

HermioneWeasley Sun 12-Jul-15 20:50:40

What theyremad said

It isn't that x number of requirements is OK, but y will tip the balance, it's about what can reasonably be accommodated.

Presumably if there are a large number of very observant children then the school will have come across this before when organising trips?

quietbatperson Sun 12-Jul-15 20:52:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littlejohnnydory Sun 12-Jul-15 20:52:59

I worked on a Summer camp for overseas teenagers once - those who couldn't take part in trips on a Saturday stayed in the accommodation and a member of staff needed to stay behind with them.

Lurkedforever1 Sun 12-Jul-15 20:53:49

What they'remad said

DesertIslander Sun 12-Jul-15 21:03:05

I think that sounds incredibly tricky for the school to accommodate.

mini321 Sun 12-Jul-15 21:03:10

cactus No intention to annoy- wanted to avoid a specific religion as I was more interested in religious restrictions in general. If we get two religions that have conflicting restrictions who trumps who? I'm not sure but I bet a lawyer would love to find out (for a reasonable rate of course)

"In fact there wouldn't have been any point in you coming anyway as apparently all there is to do in the Far East is eat." - the importance of food can't be underestimated especially in China, colloquially (so don't say this to your boss!), if you met someone you might greet them with "have you eaten yet?". I know there is more interest in food in the UK now but from what I experienced in the Far East that has always been the case.

PtolemysNeedle Sun 12-Jul-15 21:06:52

It doesn't sound like you're in a position to suggest anything, but if people's chosen dietary restrictions are going to be detrimental to the group as a whole, and change the trip so that it becomes something different to what was intended, then I think it would be fair to just let people opt in or out as they choose.

These trips hardly ever include a whole year group anyway.

specialsubject Sun 12-Jul-15 21:19:52

Strict religious observance stops you doing things. Including going on trips that involve doing stuff 7 days a week, and eating certain foods. Orthodox judaism allows very little on Saturday. Other religions have holy days on Sunday and Friday so that's already 3/7 of the week out of use.

they may be able to get vegetarian food but this is (presumably?) not a kosher tour. There are such things but they cost a lot more. The other parents will presumably not be happy for the price increase by setting up uch a tour.

the parents should examine the itinerary and accommodation/meals, and decide whether it is suitable. If not, they don't send their kids. Any more than they would send them to Mucky D's on Friday night and ask for it to be koshered.

choices. Although probably not those of the kids...

CactusAnnie Sun 12-Jul-15 21:28:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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