Failed inauguration trip for local students sparks investigation


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)

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 / Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The failed inauguration trip for a group of Butler High School students has now sparked an investigation.

Administrators from the Richmond County School System say they hope to have more answers by the end of the week.

Butler High School junior Taylor Clark was one of 20 students who paid to go on the trip to see the presidential inauguration last month.

She says the trip didn't live up to expectations.

"I didn't see the screen because we were so far back. There were only screens to see. I couldn't view the screens. I couldn't hear the president himself. Everything was muffled," Clark said.

Clark and other students are upset with Erica Jones, who organized the trip. Jones says that students missed out on the opportunity to see the president and first lady because they misbehaved and didn't stick to the schedule, but Clark's mother, who also went on the trip, disagrees.

"Those students, for the conditions, were very well," said a parent who went on the trip.

"I'm disappointed for the children," said Richmond County Superintendent Frank Roberson.

Roberson says the students are the ones who lost the most and says Jones needs to make things right.

"The students and their parents deserve their money back," he said.

The district is now investigating.

"Our level of involvement. You know, exactly how much were we involved and did we involve ourselves based on school board policy," Roberson said.

He adds this should not take very long.

"By the end of the week, we're hoping to have everything that we need," Roberson said.

Roberson adds that just because the Sheriff's Office isn't conducting the investigation, that doesn't mean charges are out of the question.

Meanwhile, Clark says she wishes she would've just stayed in Augusta.

"I could have actually stayed at home and watched the inauguration on TV and have a better experience with that," Clark said.

Jones said she wasn't able to go on camera because of her day job. However, she says the allegations are not true and the students missed out on opportunities due to behavior and not following her schedule. Jones says the rumors about her having President Barack Obama on hold are also not true. Jones says she was talking to a White House staffer and that the kids knew they were only going to record a message of congratulations for Obama and not speak to him directly.

Click here to read News 12's initial report.


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