Poland superintendent offers apology over field trip dispute

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – WYV got in contact with Poland Schools Superintendent David Janofa to get his take on the claims made that a student was bullied after bringing a state law into question.

“The oversight falls directly here, there’s no question. I’m the district superintendent, and I’m responsible for everything that happens here,” Janofa said.

The student, Jeffrey Vrabel Jr., questioned the Poland Schools Board of Education Monday about whether students should be paying for educational field trips. Vrabel said under Ohio Revised Code, schools can’t charge a per-pupil charge, and he said the district canceled two field trips after he questioned them about the charges.

Vrabel said he has been bullied by other students after a teacher told the students that it was his fault that the trips were canceled.

Janofa said the issue was addressed prior to Vrabel questioning the policy, however. He explained how he found out about the discrepancy and the steps he’s taking to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

“It was brought to our attention from the state transporting department who had called our transportation supervisor. So the transportation director notified the principal of the building that both trips were being scheduled. The principal then came and spoke to me, and that’s how it all started,” Janofa said.

However, students did get to take one of the two field trips in question.

“The second trip really was cancelled because it didn’t meet the criteria of our policy, extending the classroom to real life. So that’s why the second one was cancelled,” he said.

Janofa said it’s unclear how long this had been going on, but in this situation, the students didn’t pay to attend the field trip.

“Once it was brought to our attention, we corrected it. The one was paid for by fundraising, so there was nothing to reimburse, the second one wasn’t taken so we didn’t collect any money,” Janofa said.

He also said it’s absolutely not something they want a student to be pin-pointed over, especially because they were made aware of the discrepancy through other channels before Monday.

“We have certainly touched base with the individual to ensure there’s no ramifications on their end or that sort of thing,” Janofa said.

With two weeks remaining in the year, school officials said they will continue to make sure all students receive the out-of-the-classroom experience of educational field trips so long as the funding and criteria match school policy..

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