Local school field trip to D.C. cancelled after tour company shuts down

Ohio

TROY, Ohio (WDTN) –  Van Cleve Elementary School in Troy school sent a letter to parents Friday saying the annual field trip to Washington D.C. is “likely not possible” after many Ohio school districts have been forced to cancel planned trips through Discovery Tours.

School officials met with sixth-grade students and broke the news Friday.

In the letter sent to parents, Van Cleve Principal Matt Siefring said the school is investigating but has learned school districts across the state who have partnered with Discovery Tours have been forced to cancel their trips.

Siefring wrote in the letter Discovery Tours, “has been unreachable by any mode of communication and we have received no response from them.”

Through his own research, Superintendent Eric Herman learned reservations had been made for hotel rooms and tour busses but neither had been paid for. By Friday afternoon, the company had responded to Herman via an email saying “Discovery Tours Inc. has suspended its operations, effective immediately. All future trips are cancelled.”

Close to 200 students were scheduled to participate in the trip. Each student along with their chaperones were asked to pay $810. 

Jessica Gullete is a parent at Van Cleve Elementary School. She signed up to be a chaperone and paid more than $1,000 for her herself and her daughter’s ticket. She said her daughter was upset when she learned the trip would not be happening. 

“She called me right after school, hysterically crying and upset because she’s been looking forward to this,” Gullete said. 

Troy City Schools had contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and filed a complaint.

Attorney General Mike DeWine Friday released a statement on Discovery Tours, a tour company that has generated more than 170 complaints since Wednesday. 

“Like many schools and families, we are very concerned about what’s happening with Discovery Tours and we want answers. As we gather information, I want Ohioans to know that this is a priority for my office, and we will do everything we can to assist. We want to hear from Ohioans who have used this company.”

DeWine’s office says between late Wednesday evening and Friday morning, the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section received more than 170 complaints about Discovery Tours, primarily from parents who said they were concerned about canceled school trips after they had paid the company hundreds of dollars.

DeWine’s Consumer Protection Section is reaching out to potentially affected school districts and gathering information from consumers. Affected consumers are encouraged to file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. 

Complaints may be filed online on the Ohio Attorney General’s website or by calling the Attorney General’s Help Center between 8 am and 7 pm, Monday through Friday, at 800-282-0515.

The office also has created a special complaint form that schools and individuals may use.

2 NEWS is following this story and will keep you updated when more information is available.

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