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Santa Maria-Bonita SD |  AR  6153  Instruction

Field Trips   

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Approved Activity

An activity generally is considered school-sponsored if it requires attendance and academic credit may be given, or if the district undertakes to provide transportation to and from school, or to sponsor a school activity off the school premises, or the district has assumed a specific responsibility for the activity.

A field trip is considered a visit made by students and usually a teacher, for purposes of first-hand observation, including but not limited to businesses, farm/dairy, missions, nature environments, aquariums, and museums that may be included within or be part of a school-sponsored activity.

An excursion is generally considered a journey for recreation, usually a brief leisure trip. Field trips and excursions may be conducted in connection with courses of instruction or school-related social, educational, cultural, athletic, or school band activities to supplement the required academic instruction. For the purposes of this administrative regulation, field trip references include excursions.

Principals shall not, without first receiving approval from the Superintendent or Board, approve field trips or related activities which they consider to be inherently dangerous to students or to pose unacceptable, unmitigated risks. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Water contact activities, except diving, in places where, or at a time when, lifeguards are not provided and reasonable warning thereof has been given, or the injured party should reasonably have known that there was no lifeguard provided at the time.

2. Any form of diving into water from other than a diving board or diving platform, or at any place or from any structure where diving is prohibited and reasonable warning thereof has been given.

3. Any other activity that creates a substantial, as distinguished from a minor, trivial, or insignificant, risk of injury to a participant or a spectator.

Criteria and Approval of Field Trip

1. Teachers planning a field trip shall make a request in writing to the Principal or designee at least 15 school days prior to the date desired whenever feasible, and at least 30 school days in advance for field trips requiring Board approval. Teachers should list an alternate date. The purpose of the field trip and its relation to the course of study shall be stated in the request.

2. The Principal or designee shall approve or disapprove requests to conduct walking field trips based upon the criteria below, and the Principal or designee shall notify the teacher as to the decision made. As for all other types of field trips, the Principal or designee shall evaluate the proposed field trip and make recommendation to the Superintendent or designee according to the following:

a. Any proposed field trip shall be an integral part of the graded instructional program or extra-class activity which will provide a significant educational experience for the students.

b. The field trip shall have educational objectives which relate directly to the instructional program and shall have an evaluation component.

c. The field trip shall not unduly interrupt the instructional programs of other teachers.

d. The field trip shall be adequately funded.

e. The field trip shall be covered by district insurance.

f. Transportation for the field trip shall meet all legal and district requirements.

g. The field trip shall provide for the health, safety and welfare of students.

The Principal or designee must ensure that all students participating in the walking field trip have obtained parental permission slips.

3. A limit of one field trip per trimester is established for each regular elementary classroom. In the event of a special field trip, the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction or designee may grant an exception to this requirement on a case-by-case basis (e.g., special exhibits or performances, end-of-year activities such as pool parties, amusement parks, etc.).

4. No student shall be prevented from making the field trip because of lack of sufficient funds. No field trip shall be authorized if any student would be excluded from participation because of a lack of sufficient funds.

5. It is preferable that field trips not be scheduled during district testing periods.

6. With the exception of walking field trips, if the Principal or designee approves of proceeding with planning activities, the Principal or designee must submit a recommendation to the Superintendent or designee prior to final approval. The recommendation should address the Educational Objectives for the field trip, the itinerary for the field trip, and other pertinent information about the field trip.

Approval Levels

All field trips which take the students off school grounds during or outside the school day/year shall have prior approval as follows:

1. Approval by Principal or designee

Walking field trips may be approved solely by the Principal or designee, but the Superintendent shall be informed in advance of the walking field trip.

2. Approval by the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services

Field trips within the district or outside the district, occurring within the school day, which are funded by projects and or require transportation, or which incur other expenses, shall be submitted by the teacher, approved by the Principal or designee, and forwarded to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services or designee, for final approval.

3. Approval by Superintendent and Board

All field trips involving out-of-state destinations must be reviewed and approved by the Superintendent and the Board prior to any fundraising efforts or commitments to such a field trip.

All field trips involving overnight stays must be reviewed and approved by the Superintendent and Board. A component of the approval process is district receipt of a criminal record summary of all adult volunteers wishing to attend the field trip at least 10 school days prior to the Board meeting at which such overnight trip will be authorized by the Board.

In conformance with BP/AR 1240, all volunteers will be screened based on the nature of the field trip. All volunteers who chaperone out-of-state or overnight field trips shall be considered to be Category C volunteers, and must meet the requirements of Category C volunteers. All Category C volunteers must provide to the Superintendent and the Board satisfactory evidence that they meet the requirements stated in BP/AR 1240.

(cf. 1240 - Volunteer Assistance)

Notification and Permission

1. Students must have written parental/guardian permission in order to participate in all field trips. Such permission shall be secured for each field trip with a parent/guardian signature affixed to the field trip notification form. (Exhibit 6153(a).)

In the event of out-of-state field trips, the parent/guardian shall also sign a statement waiving any claims against the district or the State. (Exhibit 6153(c).)

2. Parents/guardians will be notified at least five days prior to a planned field trip of the date, time, place, purpose, and mode of transportation on Form 1416 (Exhibit E 6153(a)), including walking trips. Parents can withhold/deny permission by not signing and returning this form to school.

3. The school shall provide an alternative educational experience for students who do not return signed forms or whose parents/guardians do not wish them to participate in a specific trip.

4. Principals may exclude from participation any student for safety or disciplinary reasons.

No student shall be denied the ability to participate in a school sponsored trip solely on the basis of a disability.

District Authorized Transportation

District authorized transportation is a form of transportation to a school sponsored event/activity that has been organized, arranged for or provided by the school/district.

1. After the Principal, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services or Board approves a trip, organizers may arrange for transportation, according to district guidelines.

2. The Principal or designee shall determine which of the approved modes of transportation is to be used for a specific trip.

Private Transportation for School-Sponsored Trips

1. Students Transported by School Authorized Drivers in Personal Vehicles

a. Private vehicles may be utilized for field trips provided that the Principal or designee has each driver complete a Use of Private Vehicle Information Form prior to each trip. (Exhibit 6153(b).)

b. Each driver of a private vehicle transporting students will be advised by a district employee that the driver's liability is not covered by the school district's liability insurance, and that any liability for an accident or injury incurred while transporting students on a field trip is the responsibility of the driver. The school district's liability policy insures only the district's liability.

c. Each driver must be 21 years of age and shall be given a district-approved form (Form 1416-A) to fill in and sign, and shall provide evidence of liability insurance.

d. All parents will be notified that the student is being transported by private vehicle on Form 1416 - Notice of Educational Field Trip/Excursion and Parental/Guardian Permission. (E 6153(a))

2. School's Responsibilities

The Principal or designee will determine the employee(s) who will be designated the responsibility for arranging for transportation for school-sponsored activities and ensuring that all appropriate procedures are being followed. Direction shall be given regarding how forms can be obtained by parents/students, how they are filed, how permission to parents and students will be provided, and how the supervisor of the activity will monitor the transportation of students and account for each student along the way.


1. Students on approved field trips are under the jurisdiction of the Board and subject to school rules and regulations.

2. Teachers or other certificated personnel shall accompany students on all trips and shall assume responsibility for their proper conduct. (Education Code 35330(c)).

3. Chaperones shall be 18 years of age or older and shall conduct themselves in a professional manner that sets an example to students and reinforces classroom and bus rules.

Properly assigned local high school students, under the age of 18, may assist in volunteer activities as long as the student's assignment has been approved by the Superintendent or designee. However, any high school student approved to volunteer may not be authorized as a driver for any transportation for any field trip.

4. Certificated staff and chaperones must accompany the students to and from their destination and shall not be accompanied on field trips by minors or other students not enrolled in the class.

5. Chaperones shall be assigned a prescribed group of students and shall be responsible for the continuous monitoring of these students' activities.

6. Teachers and chaperones shall not consume alcoholic beverages, nor use tobacco products, nor use controlled substances while accompanying and supervising students on a trip.

7. When a trip is made to a place of business or industry, the teacher shall arrange for an employee of the host company to serve as conductor.

8. The ratio of adults to students on school field trips shall be sufficient to provide for the supervision and safety of all students. Adult chaperone to student ratio shall be at least 1:10 or a minimum of two adults.

9. If the field trip involves water activities, either in open sea or over a body of water, overnight stays, or any other activity involving a potential safety hazard, the adult chaperone to students ratio shall be at least 1:6 and the Field Trip Safety Guidelines and Checklist (Exhibit E6153(d) must accompany the field trip request form).

10. All chaperones must be approved by the Principal or designee, and must meet all district requirements for volunteers. Chaperones should be given a list of expected responsibilities before agreeing to be a chaperone. Before the trip, teachers shall provide any adult chaperones with clear information regarding their responsibilities and shall have them sign a statement waiving all claims against the district or State of California (Exhibit E 6153(c)).

All volunteers shall be screened at a level commensurate with the requirements of BP/AR 1240 (Volunteer Assistance). The Principal or designee shall make a recommendation to the Superintendent or designee as to what category of volunteer should be utilized. The Superintendent or designee shall make a final determination as to which category of volunteer should be utilized.

(cf. 1240 - Volunteer Assistance)

11. All certificated employees of the district and parents/guardians/volunteers who are planning to attend an out-of-state or overnight field trip will be informed that the back ground check process could take in excess of 30 days, and thus the process should be started well in advance of the proposed field trip date.


1. District staff shall provide a first aid kit appropriate to the activity and it shall accompany each trip. (Education Code 32041). When considering what is appropriate, district staff should consider the environmental factors that will be encountered.

2. Immediately prior to departure a list of all students and other personnel actually embarking on the trip shall be filed with the Principal or designee. This list shall include participant names, parents or other significant adults, to notify in case of delay or emergency, with telephone numbers.

3. A "Notice of Educational Field Trip/Excursion and Parental/Guardian Permission" (Form 1416) shall be completed by each student's parent or guardian prior to departure. This form shall be kept in possession of the supervising staff member at all times during the trip.


All persons making the field trip or excursion shall be deemed to have waived all claims against the district or the State of California for injury, accident, illness, or death occurring during or by reason of the trip. All adults taking trips and all parents or guardians of pupils taking field trips or excursions shall sign a statement waiving such claims. All precautions will be taken by the supervising staff for the safety and welfare of participants (Exhibit E 6153(c)).

Exhibit Forms

E 6153(a)

Notice of Educational Field Trip/Excursion and Parental/Guardian Permission (Form 1416)

E 6153 (b)

Use of Private Vehicle and Driver Information (Form 1416-A)

E 6153(c)

Field Trips/Excursions Acknowledgement and Waiver of Claims (for chaperones and all out-of-state events) (Form # to be obtained)

E 6153(d)

Safety Guidelines and Checklist (Form # to be obtained)


approved: November 12, 1986 Santa Maria, California

revised: December 13, 2000

revised: October 10, 2007

revised: January 15, 2014