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French students ultimately denied trip to UN


SAYREVILLE — After weeks of debate, the French Honor Society students did not get a oui regarding their New York trip request.

Recently, a proposed honor society trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a French restaurant was denied. Students at Sayreville War Memorial High School petitioned the Sayreville Board of Education at its Jan. 24 meeting to reconsider the issue.

At the time, Superintendent Richard Labbe told them the original trip request did not align with the curriculum.

The students told Labbe and the board at that meeting that the ideal trip they were looking to take was to the United Nations (UN), where they had intended to have a French-speaking tour guide. It was a trip that had been approved in recent years.

However, Labbe maintained that any trip would need to align with the curriculum, but also told them that he did not feel the UN was a safe location for travel.

The matter was referred to the district’s Student Achievement Committee, and when the committee reported back on Feb. 7, it found the initial request lacked sufficient alignment with the curriculum and recommended the request be resubmitted.

However, also at that meeting, Board Member Beth DePinto said she had been contacted by a UN employee, who had learned of the concerns Labbe had expressed about the safety of the UN. The employee stressed that the location was safe and ensured the students would be able to have a French-speaking tour guide, she said. The employee had asked to speak with either Labbe or Assistant Superintendent Marilyn Shediack.

It was DePinto who asked at the Feb. 21 meeting whether there was an update regarding the request.

Shediack confirmed that she spoke with the UN employee.

“He just told me that it was a very safe place,” she said.

Shediack said the request for the UN trip had been resubmitted. However, the same concern arose again.

“It’s not related to the curriculum,” she told the board of the trip.

She said she had reached out to the teacher who submitted the request to discuss the issue, but had not yet heard back.

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