WASHINGTON, D.C. – Since arriving in the nation’s capital earlier this week, students from Van Cleve Elementary School have visited such landmarks as the White House, as well as notable sites like the U.S. National Archives and the Washington National Cathedral. On Wednesday, the sixth graders were welcomed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Earlier this month, the Troy City Schools district was informed the annual trek to Washington, D.C. was hanging in the balance, as the school’s charter company, Discovery Tours Inc., never paid for hotel room deposits. The company shut its doors and left scores of Ohio students in limbo, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of student trips unaccounted for.
Following this news, Brown called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Justin Herdman, to conduct investigations into the company that defrauded hundreds of Ohio students, parents, and school districts.
“I am proud to welcome Van Cleve Elementary sixth graders to our nation’s capital today and grateful to the folks who worked so hard to make sure these kids could still make their trip,” said Brown. “Ohioans still deserve answers from Discovery Tours and that’s why I’ve called federal authorities to investigate.”
Troy City Schools was able to obtain a trip at no cost through WorldStrides tour company. Approximately 192 students and 58 chaperones traveled to Washington, D.C. The district collected $86,000 to help reimburse WorldStrides, with the Troy Foundation donating $75,000 to offset their generous donation.
In his letters to the FTC and Department of Justice earlier this month, Brown urged them to look into Discovery Tours’ actions as well as payments it received for trips that it cancelled. The Ohio Attorney General’s office, as well as two county prosecutor offices, are also investigating Discovery Tours.
Troy City Schools Superintendent Eric Herman said the school will set up a scholarship fund for future use to help students to be able to go on the Washington D.C. trip. Those who wish to contribute to trips for can donate through the Troy Foundation.