Parents like Campbell are trying to rally other families to save the overnight part.
Seven of P-H-M’s 11 elementary schools hold fifth-grade camps, a long-running tradition that takes kids for three days and two nights to either Camp Friedenswald or Camp Eberhart in southwest Michigan.
The decision came after P-H-M received an anonymous letter alleging a child was violated by another student at one of the camps, Carroll said. Administrators tried to investigate but were unable to verify it, she said.
"The consensus was: Let’s err on the side of safety and eliminate the overnights," she said, adding the camps have been pretty safe so far.
Carroll said the decision will likely go to the school board’s policy committee for review.
Amy Chrise and Campbell are asking parents to show their support for the camps at the P-H-M school board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at Discovery Middle School.
"We just want to work with them to find a solution," said Chrise, whose fourth-grade son at Prairie Vista would partake in the camp next year.
"Most of the children have never been away from home for an overnight before; this is also a growing experience where they learn personal responsibility along with the ‘fun stuff,’ " Chrise wrote in an e-mail to parents.
Prairie Vista already works hard to ensure the kids’ safety, Campbell said. For example, she said, it requires two parents to stay in each cabin where the kids sleep, and kids must not go anywhere without a buddy.
"This group is about to go to middle school, where there’s a thousand kids," said Campbell, who recalls going to fifth-grade camp when she grew up in northern Wisconsin. "That can be daunting. Camp puts them in a situation where they can bond with other kids."
Carroll said P-H-M administrators also have heard from parents who prefer day camps for elementary kids.
Campbell questions: What does the decision mean in the future for other overnight trips, like eighth-grade trips to Washington, D.C., and middle school students going to China?
Carroll replied that those trips wouldn’t be affected, adding, "Those are very age appropriate and different circumstances."