KidsView  | The Adventist Review for kids and those who always will be kids at heart | February 2018

When a Field Trip Went Very Wrong

By Wilona Karimabadi

Field trips are usually a lot of fun. Quite often, they involve visiting interesting historical sites where you see things you may have only learned about in textbooks. It can certainly feel like history comes alive!

Mr. Battles had just finished teaching a unit on the American revolution to his students at Pine Forge Academy in Pennsylvania. The kids were so interested in what they learned they begged to visit Boston (several hours away by car), to see the actual sites they’d studied. 

The first couple of days of the trip were great. The 12 students with Mr. Battles and his wife, visited the Berea Seventh-day Adventist Church and enjoyed sightseeing at all the interesting historic places Boston has to offer. The trip was so fun, they asked if they could stay one more day to see Bunker Hill, which was the site of an important battle in the American Revolution. 

In order to get to the Bunker Hill monument, the group had to take a city bus to a stop nearest to it. What they didn’t know was that the monument was located in an area where at that time White people did not welcome to Black people. This incident happened 40 years ago during a time when the city of Boston changed school districts in order to increase diversity among its campuses. This did not go over well with many people, and because of this several angry individuals became violent to anyone who didn’t look like them.

After the students toured Bunker Hill, they headed back to the bus stop. As they boarded the bus, a car pulled up and a few angry young men attacked the students for no reason, beating them with golf clubs, baseball bats, and other weapons. It was horrible. The kids never fought back, but no one tried to help them and stop the violence. In the end, four of the young men and Mr. Battles had been badly hurt. 

The wounded students were treated at the local hospital and the rest went to the police station to make statements. While they were at the police station a few of the students recognized the car in the parking lot driven by the very men who beat them! When they told the officers, these men—who were next door at the courthouse—were arrested.

The story became national news. The city of Boston apologized and tried to help the group have a better time while they remained in town to speak to lawyers about what happened. Afterward, many kind people wrote to Mr. Battles and the students telling them how sorry they were for all that had happened to them.

The case went to trial a year later. Sadly, despite the students positively identifying the men who hurt them, the accused were let go. 

The students are all grown-ups now and have gone on to have successful lives. But the story still causes them pain to this day. Because of it, however, they have had opportunities to talk about their faith in Jesus and find ways to stand up for others are ill-treated. 

Their story is can inspire us to always stand up for what is right, and always treat others with kindness and respect.