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We connect students

The Wire

We connect students

The Wire

Prison Lockdown Cancels Health Field Trip

Anh-Thu Nguyen
Permission slips and rules given to students interested in participating in the Youth Assistance Program at Green Haven Correctional Facility.

Monroe-Woodbury Critical Health Issues students boarded a bus on October 4, heading to Green Haven Correctional Facility to participate in a Youth Assistance Program. Unfortunately, due to a prison lockdown, the trip was canceled.

For the first time since COVID-19, students were invited to sit down and talk with inmates at the maximum security Green Haven Correctional Facility. The inmates are working towards making better choices and decisions and tell students their stories as to why they are in prison.

On the morning of the trip, students excitedly boarded a bus heading to the prison. However, when they were less than half a mile away, Ms. Wright received a notification that the prison was on lockdown and had to turn back around.

“I never had that happen before,” said Ms. Wright.

“We were surprised and wondering why the prison was on lockdown,” explained senior Veronica Walsh.

Later that day, they found out that the prison was on lockdown due to violent acts that occurred overnight that prevented them from going inside.

“I’m thankful we were not in the prison. It wasn’t safe for us to be there so I appreciate the safety aspect,” said Ms. Wright

“[When] my teacher said it was canceled, we were all really confused. I thought it was a joke, but then we had to turn around. All we saw was the outside wall,” added senior Jaylin Tobia. “I had prepared myself the entire week for us to go and I was really excited because I wanted to interact and see how it was there, only for the trip to be canceled.”

They pulled into the prison to turn around and only saw the outside walls, and they were forced to turn the bus around. Students had to use the restroom, so they stopped at McDonald’s, used the bathroom, got a little snack, and headed back to school and their classes.

Many had looked forward to the trip and were disappointed by it being canceled.

“I like taking my students on the trip because, when do you get an opportunity to go into a prison and see what it’s really like there? I think that it’s important for the kids to talk to these men that share their stories, and remind kids why they are being good,” said Ms. Wright, “I think it’s hard to be good sometimes, so it’s a good reminder on why you want to make good decisions so you don’t wind up there.”

Ms. Wright attended the same trip when she was a student at M-W and encouraged her kids to go on the trip because of her experience there.

“It made a really big impact on my life. It’s something I still remember today; it’s part of the reason why I became a health teacher,” added Ms. Wright. She explained that the trip made her realize that she needed to be careful who she spent time with and the decisions she made. “It made me just really think about my life choices, so it had a really big impact on my life.”

“They talk to us about goal setting, decision making, the importance of education, and avoiding alcohol and drugs,” explained Ms. Wright, a health teacher and supervisor of the field trip, “They each have a message that they share with us, and that’s why we go on the trip.”

Due to the limited spots, only 20 students were chosen through a lottery system to go on the trip. Those chosen had to follow a strict set of rules given by the prison. For example, students could not wear any green clothing (because it would match the prisoners’ uniforms), jewelry, or open-toe shoes. They also could not bring in any electronic devices and had to be escorted to different areas by approved facilities or security.

Fortunately, Ms. Wright plans to have more field trips for other students who want to go and is looking into rescheduling the visit to the Green Haven Correctional Facility.

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About the Contributor
Anh-Thu Nguyen
Anh-Thu Nguyen, Website Manager
Anh-Thu Nguyen is a senior at Monroe-Woodbury, she is the website editor of The Wire News. She primarily listens to Beabadoobee, Faye Webster, Lana Del Ray, and Mitski. She enjoys making jewelry, journaling, and baking. This is her second year writing for The Wire. She is a member of Expanding Horizons Book Club and National Honor Society, the treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta, and vice president of Italian Honor Society. She also occasionally volunteers at Monroe Free Library. Anh-Thu enjoys spending time with her friends and family as well, especially her energetic little sister. She is excited for a fun and eventful senior year.