Local students' trip to Washington threatened by shutdown
Orchard School students worry about impact
Last Updated: 58 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Tens of millions of Americans have been watching the negotiations on ending the government shutdown, but perhaps none more intently than a group of eighth-graders who are worried about their trip to Washington, D.C. next week.
The eighth-grade class at The Orchard School always goes to Washington, but this year’s class has been worrying for weeks that their trip will be spoiled.
Dana Parker has been studying the Holocaust for years and was looking forward to visiting the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, but it's one of the Smithsonian buildings closed by the shutdown.
She is worried that she won't get to see the museum if the votes on Wednesday night fail. She's also concerned that even some outdoor sites normally open all day, like the Lincoln Memorial, have been fenced off to keep people away.
"And when you think about it, it's fenced off. But why is it fenced off? It's a statue. And people, I feel like, should be able to go look at the statue, because you can't stop the people from seeing things and hearing things. But what they're trying to get you to stop from is being able to go enjoy it. And I don't really think that that's fair," Parker said.
The eighth-graders said a continuation of the shutdown would prevent their class from experiencing the same historical impact that prior classes got from their Washington trips.
"They are definitely not thinking about kids like us in my opinion. I mean, they're obviously trying to settle out a dispute, but they also are closing down a lot of very famous and very popular activities for kids like us to do," Mitchell Polk said.
History teacher Marcia Fidler said keeping students away from the capital city's monuments and memorials is a crime.
"Washington is unlike most capital cities of the world, where one goes to visit monuments to empires and palaces. Washington is a monument to men and to ideas. The memorials are more than just statues. Most of them have words carved on them. Words that were written by men, and were meant for us, this generation and future generations,” Fidler said.
Even if the shutdown continues, the kids have places where they can go, like Arlington National Cemetery and Mount Vernon.
They said they know they will have a good time just being on an outing with their friends, but they said they really want the Washington sites to open to make the trip a meaningful experience.
Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6
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