Holy Crap, he’s at it again.
Wasatch Academy leaders know that their employee’s actions killed two kids while employed at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, yet they have allowed Steve Hall to start a program at their school called "Out and Beyond" and schedule a trip involving water for August 9th. ***UPDATE: The link was removed from the school Website on July 23, 2008, but a PDF of the trip announcement is here and a PDF of their front page with the audacious link is here. I'd like to believe the trip has been cancelled, but that would indicate signs of a conscience I'm not sure exists.*** Even Darlington, albeit after much pressure, made Hall cease and desist. It couldn’t be clearer deja-vu.
Hall’s an egomaniac – I understand how he dares to repeat himself – after all, he never took the slightest of breaks in planning or conducting trips for kids since 2005 (can you imagine?), was at a Darlington soccer game laughing it up four days after the boys’ bodies were found (can you imagine?), and has the thoughtfulness to announce his first official "Out and Beyond" outing the same month that Clay and Sean would have graduated high school. There are devils amongst us, I know. But the school.
What's their reasoning? I have to hope that they have numerous other, and more rational, leaders on this trip, and Hall won't be in charge of anything. He's listed as the main contact, but maybe he's just the organizer - the paperwork pusher - and not going on the trip at all. Unfortunately, the over-the-top trip description screams Hall.
Like it says: Call 435/462-1420 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions. I’d be willing to bet that, if asked, he would have trouble remembering February 2005 or Clay and Sean at all. I'd suggest that you contact Joe Loftin, the Headmaster, at email@example.com or a Board Member. I did, but it now looks like I got nowhere. I'm just one stranger in Indiana, after all, but I would imagine a parent's questions might be better received.
We learned too late from the Darlington experience that the only answers are communication among the parents and their questions and demands of school leaders. Unfortunately, this is the rub. Parents sending their children to private schools are understandably more likely to assume the school their child attends would only employ the cream of the crop.
So, I pray. And hope that a few diligent Wasatch parents research the trip leaders and make their own educated decisions.
And for these diligent ones who find this post, I also offer this: If you have already signed up for this trip and decide not to send your child, email me and I’ll pay your cancellation and non-refundable fees. Send me your proof of cancellation and notification to the school of the reason for your cancellation, and I’ll send you the money you paid.
Apparently, the balance is due today and you can be refunded up to 21 days prior to August 9th.
Until then, I pray that all 10 kids’ parents contact me. After August 9th, I can only watch and pray from a distance, which is what I will do, as long as Steve Hall is allowed to be in the wilderness with other people's children.