Island School

Parents question trips after accident

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2008, 12:00am


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The new parents' committee of the English Schools Foundation is set to debate the future of student-led trips to Koh Samui after a teenager suffered severe head injuries during a recent holiday.

But parents say they will not bar their children from joining future trips altogether following the motorcycle accident which left former student Sahm Cooper with a brain haemorrhage and fractured skull, and A-level student Adrian Chung with arm injuries.

The accident happened on June 22 during the 'rite of passage' trip to the Thai holiday island organised by a large group of students in their final year at West Island School. Sahm was airlifted to Bangkok Hospital on June 26 for brain surgery to remove a blood clot following an earlier operation in a branch hospital.

He remained in intensive care for a week. But on Thursday, the hospital said his condition had improved. He was still stable yesterday.

ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said it was saddened by the accident but would not be issuing general advice to schools regarding holidays organised by students.

'It is not really an ESF matter at all ... These young people have left school and I don't think the ESF should try to interfere in family life.'

Jane Tracy, chair of the ESF's committee of parents, said her own daughter had been on a trip to Koh Samui with a group of students from Sha Tin College several weeks ago and had run into groups of students from other schools on the flight.

'The idea of independent travel and travel prior to university is something that hasn't been addressed previously in our committee,' she said.

'But I think because of this, we may well raise it. It would be about how to educate parents about how to make decisions. Historically the students have gone and there have been very few problems. But this particular case is very tragic and it highlights the dangers of doing this sort of thing.'

May Chan Siu-wan, vice-chair of the Hong Kong Parents Association, said: 'I am very surprised that the parents could allow their children to organise a trip themselves. They are only teenagers, not adults.'