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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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I sent the following letter to the teachers union. I am not

Customer Question

I sent the following long letter to the teachers union. I am not a member of the union so I am not eligible for legal services, as this would be a pre-existing condition. Please help.
Dear Houston Federation of Teachers,
My name is***** I am a teacher at Jefferson Davis Senior High School in Houston Independent School District. I have been teaching French, all levels, in the district for ten years. I have been teaching at Davis High School for five years. My principal’s name is*****
In the fall of 2014 I asked the principal if I could organize an international student educational tour for the Near Northside community. The tour company is EF Educational Tours (, a private company that specializes in international travel for students. Dr. Alcantar agreed to support the tour and she also agreed to become a chaperone on the tour.
The tour is a trip to London and Paris during Spring Break of 2016. The tour dates are March 14 through March 20. As Group Leader of the tour, I now have 38 students and adults, and 5 chaperones enrolled on this tour, scheduled to depart in a few months.
The 38 travelers have paid for their enrollments directly to the company EF Tours. The tour cost is about $3,000 per person, with round-trip airfare, hotel, meals, transportation, and professional tour guides included.
The 5 chaperones and I are exempt from the cost of the tour package, because there are assigned duties, student discipline management, safety vigilance, and other support from the chaperones necessary to ensure a safe and comfortable student tour overseas. The chaperones support the Group Leader.
EF Tours also assigns a professional Tour Director to our group. He is the main tour guide and is responsible for the itinerary, logistics, and acts as a local liaison for the group. He is the one in charge once we arrive in Europe.
My concerns are numerous, but they are all in regards ***** ***** Alcantar, the principal. Since 2014, she has attempted to take over the travel group as its leader and she has made demands on my time regarding the trip, and bullied me with insults, intimating that my leadership skills are poor, and that I am acting “willy-nilly”. She is the only one complaining, however. All other travelers are very pleased with what I have accomplished, and they are very excited about the trip.
Here is a list of grievances against Dr. Alcantar.
1) I intended this trip to be for students and their families. As soon as the tour was reserved, Dr. Alcantar paid EF Tours to enroll the following people:
a. Her husband
b. Her two children, a boy (9), and a girl (12)
c. Her mother-in-law
2) The Group Leader chooses the chaperones, however, since she’s principal, Alcantar picked as chaperones:
a. Claudia Garza, an assistant principal and best friend.
b. Rosa Giron, Alcantar’s office secretary. Giron doesn’t even work with the students. She’s not an educator.
3) Rosa Giron paid EF Tours to enroll her husband.
4) I have tried to explain to the chaperones (who are traveling for free) that this is a student educational tour, not a private vacation package for adults. I have tried to explain that they will have responsibilities while in London and Paris to take care of the travelers, the students.
5) Alcantar and Garza (even though they are chaperones) have verbalized that they intend to not only leave the group when they want to, but also to take paying students away from the group to do their own sight-seeing and shopping. This is a violation of the EF Tours contract, and an unethical affront to the parents who have paid for their children to enjoy a full and safe educational tour. Imagine what would happen if under Alcantar’s charge, away from the group, a student was harmed or even lost in a foreign country?
6) Alcantar has repeatedly called me into her office to dramatically and vehemently complain that I do not know what I am doing, nothing’s been done, and I don’t know this or that. She demands report after report, lists, schedules, documents verifying rooming arrangements and meal-times. The fact is that she is a chaperone, the details of the trip are not her concern. Furthermore, I report to her as a teacher, not as a volunteer.
7) She told me that if I was too stressed out about the trip, then one of the other chaperones could replace me, a man named JP Cortez. She’d like JP to be Group Leader so that his wife can go for free, too. The wife is not an educator, either. Alcantar is the only reason I am stressed out.
It is within my power, as Group Leader, to replace any chaperone I choose. I would like to enroll actual teachers. However, I fear severe retaliation from Alcantar, since she is my supervisor.
I would like to know what my options are legally in the event that I cancel some of the chaperones’ enrollments on the trip.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thank you for contacting me. I am a consultant here and I am looking forward to assisting you with your question. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Please be patient as I will be typing my responses to you from scratch. Also, I can only answer/address the questions you ask specifically based on the information your provide. Please try to provide as much information as possible so I can best assist you.

Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I'm very sorry you are in this very delicate position.

To make sure I am understanding this correctly, you want to cancel other chaperones' involvement on the trip? Do you have authority to do that, because from the facts you have stated it doesn't seem like you would?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do have the authority to choose and replace chaperons. I am the Group Leader. I volunteered, and according to the private company EF Tours I am the liaison between EF Tours and the paying travelers. Chaperons are of my choosing.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The Houston ISD Board Policy states:Travel agency or for-profit company tripsa. Trips sponsored by a travel agency, for-profit company, or other organization not formally doing business with the District are not considered field trips and will not be associated with any school or the District. This includes trips that are sponsored or chaperoned by an HISD employee. The following actions are not permitted for such trips:(1) No District funds or resources may be used;(2) No District form templates may be used in preparation of the trip;(3) No instructional time may be lost;(4) No liability will be assumed by the District; and(5) No HISD employee will serve as an agent of the District while on such a trip.Consultation2. This regulation does not require consultation.
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

So, you would be able to remove chaperones (legally).

However, strategically, you may be putting yourself in a position where you are going to upset your supervisor and this could carry potential ramifications for you regarding your job.

Legally, you are entitled to remove any chaperones you want. You should check with EF Tours to see if they would refund them their money. If they won't, they could try to sue you for their damages (which you obviously want to avoid). Also, you removing the chaperones will likely more than tick off your supervisor who will now be gunning for you at work.

Basically, you will be putting yourself in a defensive position by taking actions that affect the other chaperones contrary to your supervisor and their wishes (even if you are the group leader). Legally, you are entitled to do so. However, the consequences can be severe in a nonlegal sense.