MENTOR, Ohio -- A tour company that prompted the last-minute cancellation of a Washington D.C. trip for hundreds of Mentor students has released a statement blaming a hotel for the situation.
Mentor Public Schools Tuesday informed more than 500 8th graders that the trip, which was to leave Wednesday morning, was canceled after Discovery Tours claimed it was unable to receive final confirmation for the hotel rooms.
Each student paid $455 to go on the trip.
Discovery Tours said in its statement:
"Discovery Tours was told late yesterday afternoon by the Hyatt Regency Dulles Hotel that it would not honor its contract with Discovery Tours to provide rooms on May 1st and May 2nd. Discovery Tours believes that Hyatt’s behavior is unreasonable and inappropriate because it was paid 100% of the money that was invoiced by Hyatt for the Mentor Schools Trip as of April 24, 2018. Hyatt then sent an amended bill demanding additional funds on April 27th which Discovery Tours paid by credit card on April 30th. Hyatt then refused to accept that credit card payment and insisted that it was entitled to keep over $34,000.00 of Discovery Tour funds as liquidated damages.
Discovery Tours is consulting with an attorney to determine whether litigation should be initiated to address this situation."
Tuesday, Mentor Public Schools Interim Supt. Bill Porter sent a message to parents saying the hotel claims Discovery Tours was unable to meet the contractual obligations. It said Discovery Tours claimed otherwise.
The full statement is:
"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."