Washington, D.C. trip for hundreds of Mentor students canceled due to issue with tour company

MENTOR, Ohio -- Mentor Public Schools had to share some very disappointing news with hundreds of families on Tuesday: The trip to Washington, D.C. for hundreds of 8th grade students was canceled.

Mentor Public Schools says the tour company, Discovery Tours, which it contracted with to take students on the trip said they were unable to receive final confirmation for the hotel rooms, so the trip would need to be canceled.

More than 500 students were set to go on the trip which was to leave Wednesday morning; each student paid $455 to go.

Below is the entire message sent to parents from Mentor Public Schools Interim  Superintendent Bill Porter.

Dear Parents and Guardians of 8th Grade Students,

"We are very sorry to share some unfortunate and upsetting news with you this evening. Late this afternoon we received a call from Discovery Tours, the company we contracted with for the Washington, D.C. trip, stating they were unable to receive final confirmation for our hotel rooms, and so the trip would need to be cancelled.

We immediately contacted the hotel to try to get more information. We were told by hotel management that, under advice from the hotel’s legal counsel, all they could disclose to us is: Discovery Tours was unable to meet the contractual obligations. Discovery Tours tells us otherwise.

Regardless, even if we were able to secure the hotel rooms directly through the hotel ourselves, we no longer have faith in Discovery Tours to trust them with the most precious cargo -- our students -- to feel comfortable to continue on this trip, especially with such little time before tomorrow morning.

I am sure you are feeling angry as you read this, as all of us have been since we received the news late this afternoon. We know this is an educational experience students look forward to for years prior to 8th grade that is being taken from them for no apparent reason.

Our middle school principals plan to bring all 8th grade students together tomorrow morning to discuss the situation. We know and understand this will be very emotional for our students. We will do everything possible to support them. School will be in session per usual.

We will also be doing everything in our power to address the financial implications of the cancellation. Refunds for the trip are undoubtedly on everyone’s minds and at this time, we do not have full explanations yet, but I can assure you, we will work diligently to secure restitution.

To say I am incredibly disappointed is an understatement. As a parent myself, I do not envy the difficult conversations you are going to have to have with your children this evening. We are very sorry the Washington, D.C. trip has been spoiled for our 8th grade students.

We will continue to communicate updates with you as we investigate the true cause; however, our immediate concern is making sure we support the students whose trip has been taken away."