The death of 18-year-old Greg Jacobs is a tragic accident. But it was just that an accident.
Jacobs, a Monroeville High School senior, died in an Erie, Pa. hospital from injures he suffered during a snowboarding fall at Peek 'n Peak ski resort in New York during the school's senior class trip.
As unfortunate and sad as Jacobs' death was, it could have occurred any time the senior was on the slopes. According to students, he had some experience and was "pretty good." The Pennsylvania coroner said he could recall only one other skiing-related death, and no student had been killed on an MHS class trip since Superintendent Carol Girton took over in 1999.
Girton has been criticized as callous for her comments that the senior trips would continue. "I don't think this will change our policies," she told the Reflector.
However, Girton is right not to end the senior trips. Field trips are some of the most memorable and anticipated events for high schoolers. A well-rounded education includes not just text book knowledge but social development as well, and trips provide a key opportunity for "real world" interaction. Field trips, which are not mandatory, also expose students to opportunities they might not have had otherwise whether it be a trip to Washington D.C. or a chance to ski.
We all feel for Jacobs' family and all those who knew him. We understand their grief. But it would be a mistake to allow a knee-jerk reaction to this tragic accident to end an opportunity many of us enjoyed and remember fondly.