Q: I just got an email from my son’s teacher saying he cannot go on the upcoming field trip unless I go with him. The teacher said they do not have somebody who can watch him, and since he often gets overstimulated or upset, he will need me there to keep him calm. Can the school require me to go on the field trip?
A: It is against the law for a school to exclude a child from any school-related activity unless the parent provides supervision. It is the school’s responsibility to supervise the student during school hours and at school activities. A teacher saying the parent must attend is putting her own responsibility onto the shoulders of the parent.
Subpart D, section 104.34 of Section 504 requires the school to provide equal access in academic and nonacademic settings. This means the school must provide equal access to field trips, and they are not allowed to ask the parent to provide the oversight in order to facilitate this equal access. Unless the activity is a risk to the child’s safety, the school must provide equal access to the activity. If all students, typical or special ed, are required to have a parent on the field trip, then they can require you to go along.