Bus company mistake disrupts students' field trip to Washington, D.C.

May 23, 2013 2:40:47 PM PDT
Two hundred sixth graders were in class at the Mason Tomlin School Elementary School in Mantua, N.J. Thursday afternoon. But they were supposed to be on a much-anticipated field trip to Washington, D.C.

And they didn't find out until 9:00 p.m. Wednesday that the bus company that was supposed to take them wasn't sending buses this morning.

Damon Wilson said he was looking forward to visiting museums in our nation's capital with his classmates.

"I got the call from my friend. I thought he was kidding. So I went downstairs and my mom talked to me. And she said it was really cancelled," he said.

The annual trip to Washington is a tradition for the school's graduating sixth graders.

The school board pays for it. The P.T.O. provides dinner in D.C. And a former principal, Bob Preziosi, says he booked the buses from U.S. Coachways back on September 23rd.

As late as 4:00 p.m. yesterday, he says he received a call from Christine Davila at the bus company confirming that six buses would be at the school at 5:15 a.m. Thursday to pick up the 200 students, 50 parent chaperones and 18 staff members.

"At 8 o'clock last night I get a call back from her apologizing to me, saying that there's been a miscommunication between her office, which is the central office, and the garage that the buses were housed at," said Preziosi.

The school sent out robo-calls to the sixth graders saying the trip was canceled, but some showed up early Thursday morning nonetheless.

"As soon as I explained that to the parents and the children, right away tears from the children. They are extremely disappointed. This is something they look forward to all year," said Preziosi.

By the end of the school day, however, the story took a happy turn.

After spending most of the day on the phone working out details, Preziosi was able to announce the children that the trip has been rescheduled for June 5th.

The room erupted in cheers.

The school said U.S. Coachways apologized for upsetting the children. They told Action News they will no longer contract with the company that canceled the buses.