Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)


May 23, 2001, Wednesday


No more movie field trips for Kanawha school kids; Putt-putt golf outings remain among rewards


BYLINE: Eric Eyre


SECTION: News; Pg. P1C


LENGTH: 481 words

Kanawha County school principals and teachers have stopped sending students to movie theaters on school time.

Students skipped "Pokemon 3: The Movie" this year. They'll also miss "Shrek."

Instead, most schoolchildren are going to Coonskin Park, Sunrise Museum, the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and Kanawha State Forest this spring.

"It's back under control," said county schools Assistant Superintendent Leonard Allen.

During the previous school year, schools sent students on movie field trips more than 60 times.

Movie theaters held special morning showings on school days for Kanawha County students, who watched films such as "102 Dalmatians" and "The Emperor's New Groove."

Kanawha school board members ordered a ban on non-educational movie trips in February.

Now county schools central office administrators review field trip requests submitted by principals each month. School board members also are scrutinizing the requests.

"I'm very glad to see we're off the movies," said school board member Pete Thaw. "It shows that when the light's on, things get better. But I'm still concerned about the putt-putts."

More than 20 school field trips to putt-putt or miniature golf centers have been planned this week and next. That's about half as many as last spring.

School administrators have rejected some miniature golf trips.

Carol Thom, Stonewall Jackson Junior High School principal, twice wanted to send students to Rock Lake Putt-Putt Center in South Charleston last month. But school officials told her to schedule the trip during the final two weeks of school.

"We did not reschedule putt-putt," Thom said Tuesday. "We've scheduled a pool party to reward students instead."

School officials gave permission for two movie trips this spring.

Students who attend Elk Elementary Center's after-school program went to Marquee Cinemas in April. An advanced history class at South Charleston High School will see "Pearl Harbor" at Marquee on Friday.

"It's an educational film," said Bill Walton, principal at South Charleston High.

School board member John Luoni wants to prohibit all movie field trips. He hasn't secured enough votes to do so.

"Most historical movies have much more fiction than fact," Luoni said. "Movies are to history what pro wrestling is to sports."

Earlier this year, principals defended the movie trips. They said they use such trips as rewards for good behavior and attendance.

At least one out of every three days last year, some Kanawha County school sent students to theaters.

"I haven't had any requests for movies [since February]," said Allen, the assistant superintendent. "I wouldn't approve them if I did. The principals know what the expectations are. They're staying within the guidelines."

To contact staff writer Eric Eyre, use e-mail or call 348-5194.


LOAD-DATE: May 23, 2001




Copyright 2001 Charleston Newspapers