GRAND TERRACE (CBSLA) — Aaron Massey was really looking forward to a trip to Japan with his classmates and teachers from Grand Terrace High School scheduled for this weekend.
“It was hard to take it,” he said. “It still is, honestly.”
But his dad, Haroon Massey, was firm in his decision to keep his son home.
“They are not concerned about the well-being of the students,” Haroon Massey said.
Haroon Massey said he was upset that the school has not outright canceled the trip amid the rapidly evolving situation with the coronavirus. On Tuesday, Japan confirmed 59 new cases of the potentially fatal disease — the largest one-day spike since the outbreak began.
“But I still have all my friends going, and I don’t know what’s going to happen with them” Aaron Massey said.
The Colton Joint Unified School District said they were not able to cancel the trip because “the trip is not district sponsored or endorsed and is being organized outside of our authority.”
However, Dr. Manzoor Massey, Aaron Massey’s uncle, a former public health doctor said that school email addresses have been used to send parents information about the trip.
“We could put these kids in real jeopardy,” Dr. Manzoor Massey said.
He also said they have held meetings about the spring break trip on campus.
“There has not been transparency with this whole issue,” he said.
It turned out that a company called EF Educational Tours was organizing the trip. They told KCAL9 that they were offering travel vouchers to parents who wanted to reschedule the trip due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, but said several teachers and students were still choosing to go.
According to the company’s website, if teachers are able to get six students to go on the trip, their spot is “covered.”
“Now I know why they do it every year,” Kristen Kendall, a parent, said, “because they’re always free.”
Kendall said she was not allowing her daughter to go either, but said that those who were still going accused she and others like her of ganging up on the school to “ruin” the trip.
“To say these things about us as concerned parents is disheartening,” she said.
The Masseys and Kendall said they no longer trust the travel company and are seeking full refunds and wanted to know what safety protocols the school has in place when these students and teachers return from the trip.