Parents Beware: you must demand timely, adequate vetting and a safety assessment by your children’s schools, colleges or universities regarding any form of internships, travel projects and third-party internship programs your children might attend. Every day parents in the U.S.A. send children off to school, college and universities to obtain an education. This schooling is primarily done on a school campus, in classrooms and laboratories. There are however, many instances where schools and universities offer various types of third-party internships, which are actually managed, run, controlled and operated by people outside of the school or university, who may have no connection whatsoever to the particular school. Some of these third-party programs or internships are ill-managed, unsafe and may result in danger or harm to these children or students when the school, college or university fails to adequately and timely vet, assess and evaluate the program. There have been some universities where the vetting was virtually nil which lead to students being injured or killed. If you have a student/child who may be interested in attending or taking part in any form of one of these third party internships, then you, as a parent, should know everything you can about the program. Most importantly, you need to know what the school or university has done in terms of how it has evaluated the program to determine if it is a safe program, and a program which is genuinely a legitimate program (as opposed to being a sham or a scam designed simply to take money from families or schools). It is the schools’ or universities’ obligation and responsibility to:
A) Know the background, experience and qualifications of the persons who are running, managing and operating the program;
B) Know the details of the curriculum or agenda regarding the day to day activities of the program;
C) Understand the goals and objectives of the program as compared to the risks and dangers/hazards of the program;
D) Investigate the experience and history of not only the individuals running and managing the programs, but, also about the program itself; such as how long the program has been in existence; how many students have been a part of internships with the program; is the program involved in legitimate research or sham activities just to earn revenues; a program with extreme risk where the university must make a reasonable effort to know of those dangers and to tell students “this is a sham operation;”
E) Know what the student will be getting in terms of his/her educational benefit in comparison to the costs/expenses regarding the program; and
F) Know and make “certain” that each and every aspect of the internship program follows and complies with all laws and regulations (as opposed to those third-party internship programs – especially some of which are “offshore”, which are being operated illegally and without certifications, licenses and government approvals).
When parents send children off to various schools and universities, these moms and dads will have a reasonable expectation that the universities will look out for the safety and well-being of these students. Any program at all, which comes to the student through the university, directly or indirectly, is one where the university needs to give all due consideration for keeping the students safe and doing everything reasonable theycan do to prevent harm from coming to these students. Universities which simply pass on information about third-party programs and internships to the students and then simply wash their hands of it by saying (figuratively speaking) “you are on your own” – are in a word, negligent! Such a university has breached it’s duty and its obligation to these students, their parents and to society as a whole.
John F. Romano
May 9, 2018