Executive director Sheryl Hill was recently quoted in a USA Today article, “Death Highlights Risks of Study Abroad Programs.”
Casey Schulman (VA), Morgan Lide (GA), Joshua Shane (AZ) and Ravi Thackurdeen (NY) will not be ‘home’ for the holidays ever again. All four died in water accidents.
Comments like, “Most of them come back safe” aren’t helping. Most is not good enough for ClearCause. There are no federal laws, oversight, minimum qualifications or standards, nor mandated transparent reporting in the youth travel and study abroad industry. Some of these students are sponsored by US Department of State study abroad grants using your tax dollars.
Parents seeking information about the tragic death of their children are often met with silence as Universities are warned by their attorneys to avoid lawsuits. Sadly, many parents are left no alternatives but to file lawsuits to get information about their child’s death.
Tragically, history repeats itself. Students and other Americans have drowned on the same unmarked beaches. American’s be warned – a stroll along a hazardous beach where the sand can wash out from underneath you, and the undertow drag you out into treacherous waters – particularly during monsoon season in remote areas, can cost you your life.
Water safety is getting the attention of study abroad programs. Perhaps the lives of these aspiring young students will herald warnings to save others. More needs to be done.
Our hearts go out to their family, friends and community. Safety means the world to youth and students abroad.