DL school’s field trip may be canceled

For more than 25 years now, fourth grade students at Rossman Elementary School in Detroit Lakes have been given a unique field trip opportunity every spring.

For more than 25 years now, fourth grade students at Rossman Elementary School in Detroit Lakes have been given a unique field trip opportunity every spring.

“The fourth grade trip to the Twin Cities has been around, in one form or another, for 26 years,” says Rossman PTO member Amy Erickson.

This year’s fourth graders were going to be spending the night at the Science Museum as well as paying visits to Fort Snelling and the State Capitol in St. Paul.

But a recent decision by Detroit Lakes’ school administration to review its policies regarding all elementary student field trips is putting that tradition in jeopardy - and some parents are concerned.

“I think there’s a lot of educational value in a field trip like that, for students from both schools (Rossman and Roosevelt elementary),” Erickson said. “I think every kid should have a chance to see the things that are on that field trip in their lifetime.”


Rossman Elementary Principal Sandy Nelson said one of the reasons why the district is reconsidering not just the fourth grade trip at Rossman, but all elementary field trips, is because of heightened concerns regarding student safety.

“We had sent out information to our fourth grade parents that that (Rossman fourth grade) trip might be one we have to change,” Nelson said - specifically, because it was overnight and not just a day trip.

The district’s administration is reviewing its policies on student field trips, specifically for such things as the “age appropriateness” of the activity as well as other safety concerns, Nelson noted.

“We haven’t had an opportunity to review this (field trip policy) for a long time,” he added, noting that students’ safety and security has become more of a concern in recent years - as evidenced by the fact that both elementary buildings now have heightened security at their entrances during the school day.

Erickson, however, does feel that fourth grade students are old enough to experience an overnight field trip.

“I don’t feel that fourth graders are too young (for an overnight trip),” she said. “The proof of that is that they’ve been doing this for 26 years.”

One thing Erickson does think needs to be addressed, however, is providing the same opportunities to students at both Rossman and Roosevelt.

“I really feel strongly that we as parents shouldn’t be thinking of Rossman and Roosevelt as separate schools,” she said. “We’re all one school. This (field trip situation) certainly isn’t a Rossman vs. Roosevelt thing.”


In fact, Erickson said, “we’re having a joint (Rossman-Roosevelt) school carnival this year,” as part of an overall effort “to try and work together for what’s best for our kids.”

Nelson said “ensuring all of our kids are getting the same opportunities district wide” is one of the concerns the administration is planning to address during this policy review.

Erickson added that the Rossman PTO had been informed to expect a final decision on the fourth grade field trip within the next few weeks.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes .

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at
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