NORTH COLONIE, N.Y. – The U.S. embassy in Peru has reported a potential kidnapping threat targeting American tourists by a criminal organization in the Cusco and Machu Picchu regions – and with 22 Shaker High School students on a trip in the country it's cause for concern.
North Colonie district officials were made aware of the situation on Friday afternoon. Currently, there's a group of 22 Shaker High School students and four chaperones in Peru on a foreign language department trip.
According to the school district, they immediately began gathering information on the situation, placing calls to the U.S. Embassy in Peru, Congressman Paul Tonko's offices and Interact Travel Inc., the company that helped organize the trip itinerary.
They concluded this was a security message issued for U.S. citizens by the U.S. embassy in Peru and not an alert or warning issued by the State Department, which would indicate a much more serious level of concern, including prohibition of travel by American tourists.
North Colonie Superintendent D. Joseph Corr, Shaker High School Principal Richard Murphy and district officials met with the students' parents on Friday evening at Shaker High School to inform of the latest information and address their questions and concerns. Based on consultation with Congressman Tonko's office, the tour guide company and the students' parents, the decision was made to continue with the trip itinerary as planned.
Parents were also given the option of withdrawing their child from the trip, however at this point; no one has chosen to do so.
The district has been in constant contact with the trip's chaperones and they are maintaining a high level of vigilance. They have expressed that the students are in good spirits and are enjoying the trip.
The students are scheduled to return home on February 22.
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