A group of Manhattan public high-school students and a history teacher with a soft spot for Cuba flouted federal travel restrictions by taking a spring-break field trip to the communist nation – and now face up to $65,000 apiece in fines, The Post has learned.
The lesson in socializing and socialism was given to about a dozen students from the selective Beacon School on the Upper West Side, which for years has organized extravagant overseas trips with complementary semester-long classes.
Some past destinations include France, Spain, South Africa, Venezuela, Mexico and, according to the school Web site, Cuba in 2004 and 2005.
The principal, Ruth Lacey, insisted she did not approve the April 1-10 jaunt, in which students and teachers said the group was briefly detained on their return by American customs officials in The Bahamas and now faces fines.
In a telephone interview, Lacey initially claimed to have no knowledge of the trip but later recalled having denied approval for it. She said the teacher, Nathan Turner, then took it upon himself to arrange the excursion.
Turner, 35, a popular teacher whose classroom walls, students said, are adorned with posters of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, declined to comment.
How does a principal not know a class is going to Cuba? That’s disturbing — you’d think an aware principal would know if a teacher took a group of kids to the movies, nevermind another country.
Wonder if she’s ever been outraged while standing in the teacher’s classroom.