Teacher cancels Olympic plans over safety concerns

Rachel Treisman, Staff Writer

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Soon, audiences everywhere will tune into the 2014 Olympics. Others will make the trip to Sochi and catch a glimpse of the excitement firsthand. But for one Staples teacher, the dream of going to the winter Olympics is no longer a reality.

 Social studies teacher John Miller has been to many Olympics, but this year he’ll be watching the games on TV instead.

 “[My wife and I] have been really lucky to have gone to the past few Olympic games in London, Vancouver, and Beijing,” said Miller in an email interview.

The two decided to go to Sochi in the fall, when they were invited to attend because Miller’s wife works for GE, a Global Sponsor of the games.

Miller was excited to visit Moscow and Sochi and attend the events, especially after hearing how much money Russia spent in preparation.

However, excitement turned to anxiety as reports released information about widespread terrorist threats.

“Our parents were concerned about safety, especially after some of the stories came out regarding possible attacks,” said Miller.

Miller also worried about leaving his classes during the five-day long trip.

“One of the days was going to be devoted to a unit test in my AP Government and Politics class, and I always hesitate to leave that task to a substitute teacher,” said Miller.

The Millers ultimately decided to play it safe and cancel the trip.

Miller also had to tackle time-consuming tasks like changing lesson plans, undoing requested time off, and canceling the “double-Grandma visit” for his children.

Although Miller was looking forward to visiting Russia and seeing events like hockey and skiing, he believes he made the right call.

“I hope it is just hype,” said Miller. “But at the end of the day, my wife and I figured that because we have kids at home, and because this trip – although really nice and very cool – is optional, maybe it wasn’t the best idea at this time

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