Class trip cancellation causes controversy in East Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Class trip cancellation causes controversy in East Hartford

Posted: Updated:
Zaria DeBerry explains problems with getting refund for class trip that was canceled due to Paris terror attacks. (WFSB) Zaria DeBerry explains problems with getting refund for class trip that was canceled due to Paris terror attacks. (WFSB)

One student explained her struggle to get money back from a class trip after her school canceled the trip because of terror attacks.

The terror attacks in Paris raised security concerns all over the world and we saw several local schools react by canceling their international trips.

One of those schools is East Hartford high and students there are having a very tough time getting their money back from the tour company.  

For many students here, this Paris trip was their first time in France. For some, that trip was their first time out of the country.

On the evening of Nov. 13, 2015, 130 people were killed in coordinated attacks in Paris and its northern suburb, Saint-Denis.  

Instead of getting a refund, students told Eyewitness News they're getting the run-around.

“I wanted to see Paris' style and of course, the Mona Lisa,” East Hartford senior Zaria DeBerry said.

DeBerry said she had her heart set on Paris for more than a year. Ever since she signed up, DeBerry said she worked two jobs to get the money for the $3,500 April trip.

“I was working at my normal job at the mall and I was working at CREC as an assistant teacher,” DeBerry said.

She raised around $1,300 when tragedy struck. Two weeks later, East Hartford administrators decided to cancel the trip.  

She didn't want to be responsible for all these students’ lives. I understood that,” DeBerry said. “That's a lot of pressure for something that just happened. A country was just attacked.”

But the kids faced roadblocks with EF Educational Tours.

The cancellation fee was $750. The company would refund whatever else was paid.

“If our school decided at the last minute they're not going, that's understandable,” DeBerry said. “But we have all these months in advance, and the country was attacked.”

Eyewitness News out to EF Educational Tours on Friday. EF Educational Tours officials told Eyewitness News the kids in East Hartford were some of the one percent of tours that canceled completely. They said they offered the school several options.

  • Keep the dates, but change itinerary to another country get a full refund in the form of a travel voucher that's transferable between students.
  • Change the destination completely. In this case, East Hartford wanted to go to Orlando to combine with a band trip. 

“Mickey Mouse? We're seniors and juniors in high school,” DeBerry said.

Since DeBerry is a senior, she could get a voucher and use it in college. But, DeBerry said she's not ready to plan that far ahead and doesn't know exactly what she'll do.

But, DeBerry said her dream to see the Eiffel Tower isn't over.

“I do want to go one day, soon,” DeBerry said. “I'll give it some time, but I do want to go.”

School administrators are still trying to plan their next move. They'll have a meeting with parents in the coming days.

But in the conversation between Eyewitness News and EF Educational Tours, company officials said if there are enough students who want to keep this April itinerary, they are willing to work independently with them.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.