It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a chance to see President Barack Obama inaugurated into his second term, but now some of the local students who went on the trip say they didn't get what they were promised. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 First at Five / Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a chance to see President Barack Obama inaugurated into his second term, but now some of the local students who went on the trip say they didn't get what they were promised.
The trip was more expensive than originally advertised, and not all 20 students were able to attend the event.
"I was excited and ready to go," said a senior at Butler High.
Jacques Nipper is in his last year at Butler High. He figured there was no better way to celebrate his senior year than with a trip to the inauguration.
"I was very anxious to go and see the president," Nipper said.
Sadly, he didn't get a chance to meet or even see President Obama take his second term. Even though he didn't get what he was promised by a visitor to the high school, he says the trip wasn't a complete loss.
"I had a really good time. It was fun. I got to see things you don't get to see every day," Nipper said.
That's why Principal Greg Thompson says he thought it would be a good idea for students to go.
"At Butler High School, we always try to get our kids exposure on different things. Throughout the year we get them on various trips, so I was glad they had an opportunity to go," Thompson said.
One thing did upset him, though.
"I was disappointed that they felt they were misled in some of the things they were told they would see and experience," Thompson said.
Students paid $135 with the belief they could watch the inauguration in special seating and even get an opportunity to meet the president. Instead, they were left without seating in the cold and were asked to pay for additional transportation fees.
Despite that, Nipper says the community is not being fair to his principal who only wants the best for his students.
"I feel he sincerely cares about us. I feel like he thinks about us off duty, even when he's not here," Nipper said.
The principal, superintendent and a school board member all say this was not a school-sponsored event, even though the school did help collect the fees.
News 12 tried to reach Erica Jones, who organized the trip, but her number is disconnected. However, district officials say an investigation is underway, and they could press charges.