Education

More News | |

Organizer of Butler's ill-fated inauguration trip shouldn't have come on campus

Promotion on campus was not allowed

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 9:02 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 2:42 AM
  • Follow Education

Richmond County’s deputy school superintendent said Wednesday the woman who organized a trip to President Obama’s inauguration with Butler High School students should not have been allowed to promote the trip on campus or collect trip dues through the school’s bookkeeper.

Tim Spivey said he knew about the trip when Erica Jones, of the DRBJ Legacy Foundation, approached the school in January but said he cautioned Principal Greg Thompson to handle it as an off-campus, nonschool-sanctioned function.

The trip turned into a school function, however, when Jones spoke at an assembly Jan. 17 and recruited the bookkeeper to help her collect fees. Because it wasn’t originally a school-related function, the county Board of Education did not have to approve the trip and a background check was not completed on Jones.

Now, students and parents are demanding answers after few of the promises made by Jones turned out to be true. She promised that students who paid $135 for a seat on the charter bus would have premier seating at the inauguration and that they would be placed in a lottery to meet the president. She also attended an assembly Jan. 17 and held a phone conversation she said was with Obama, relaying messages to students and stating that a group photo taken that day would hang in his library, according to students and a teacher who attended.

On the ride back to Augusta, students said, Jones told them they did not get a ticket for premier seating or meet the president because they had misbehaved. The group of about 30 students ended up standing in the back section of the massive crowd, unable to hear the audio or even see the event on the jumbo screens.

Spivey would not comment on any disciplinary action on Thompson because it is a personnel matter. Thompson did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

School board Vice President Helen Minchew said she wants all principals to be reminded of the district’s policy regarding school trips so nothing similar happens again.

If a school becomes involved in organizing a trip or event, it must be approved by the board, she said. The Butler trip was never approved because it was at first advertised as a nonschool-related function.

Board member Alex Howard said he was shocked to hear about the students’ ordeal, especially given that the school district would have been liable if someone had gotten hurt.

“I’m tired of this happening and people getting away with it,” Howard said. “It’s a good thing no doubt, taking students to see Obama, but that was the wrong way to do it.”

Spivey said the principal had good intentions but that things got out of hand when Jones was allowed to promote the event on campus.

“(Thompson) was trying to do something good for his kids that he thought was going to be a great thing, but it didn’t turn out to be a great thing,” he said.

THE BACK STORY

INAUGURATION TRIP

BACKGROUND: A Butler High School trip to the presidential inauguration in January didn’t go as planned when promises made by trip organizer Erica Jones were not met.

DEVELOPMENTS:

• On Wednesday, Deputy Superintendent Tim Spivey said he had discouraged the trip being a school-related function.

• Richmond County Board of Education Vice President Helen Minchew says that after the trip became a school function, it should have been approved by the board.

Comments (17) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
InChristLove
22472
Points
InChristLove 02/21/13 - 07:12 am
5
0
So where is Erica Jones and

So where is Erica Jones and why isn't she being held responsible?

soapy_725
43676
Points
soapy_725 02/21/13 - 08:21 am
0
0
Who else is recruiting at Butler HS?
Unpublished

Friends of the staff perhaps? Promised perks?

itsanotherday1
42836
Points
itsanotherday1 02/21/13 - 10:39 am
4
1
Dittos ICL. It is clear this

Dittos ICL. It is clear this flim flam artist brazenly mis-represented the trip to these kids. Some restitution should be in order.

Dixieman
14941
Points
Dixieman 02/21/13 - 12:22 pm
9
3
4000000 POINTS

Obama voters and people who think he is doing a credible job will believe ANYTHING! Not surprised the gullible school staff fell for this.

karradur
2854
Points
karradur 02/21/13 - 12:43 pm
6
4
Oh, my head.

"Obama voters and people who think he is doing a credible job will believe ANYTHING! Not surprised the gullible school staff fell for this."

Yeah, that's exactly what happened. Let's not use critical thinking skills to analyze the situation and think about responsibility, school board policy, and bad decision making, and what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future. Let's instead use a quick soundbyte to make us feel better.

Or do we not want to prevent this? Because apparently the people at Butler are all hopelessly dumb and we shouldn't try to improve things, right?

All sarcasm aside, my question is, why would Spivey try to discourage it from being considered a school function? Did he know Jones didn't have any valid credentials? How did he know about the trip if Jones approached Thompson?

Little Lamb
45819
Points
Little Lamb 02/21/13 - 12:58 pm
9
2
Bush

I'll bet not one person at Butler thought it would be a good idea to go to the second George Bush inauguration.

kiwiinamerica
942
Points
kiwiinamerica 02/21/13 - 01:52 pm
0
0
@karradur
Unpublished

No karradur, there's a real issue here about plain human stupidity. The article states that Jones....." also attended an assembly Jan. 17 and held a phone conversation she said was with Obama, relaying messages to students and stating that a group photo taken that day would hang in his library."

So these kids and presumably the school faculty too, bought her performance and believed that she had picked up her cell phone and directly called the President of the United States? Just like that?

As they say on that sports show....."C'mon man!!!!"

These folks deserve everything they get since the swindle directly exploits their belief that the Obamessiah is just a phone call away, and is waiting to satisfy their every need.

soitgoes
786
Points
soitgoes 02/21/13 - 02:11 pm
7
0
Unfortunate cliches come true

You get what you pay for. A Fool and his money are soon parted. A sucker is born every minute. Dare I go on.... Next time, Get it in writing and always read the fine print.

Gary Ross
3346
Points
Gary Ross 02/21/13 - 02:33 pm
3
0
Restitution?

You're joking, right? This kind of thing happens all the time! What better lesson to teach the students. Chaulk it up to a valuable learning experience and move on.

Darby
25496
Points
Darby 02/21/13 - 05:00 pm
6
0
"“It’s a good thing no doubt, taking students to see Obama,..."

Yeah, too bad that never happened...

"why would Spivey try to discourage it from being considered a school function?"

Duhh... Because that's his job, given that the school, nor the school system was supposed to be involved??????????????????

"How did he know about the trip if Jones approached Thompson?"

Again, Duhh... Because Thompson did ONE THING RIGHT by mentioning it to Spivey??? Then all Thompson had to do was follow instructions and keep his school the heck out of it!!!! He failed!!!!

How's that for "critical thinking skills to analyze the situation" ????

triscuit
3064
Points
triscuit 02/21/13 - 05:38 pm
7
0
The saddest part of this is

The saddest part of this is that a person stupid and gullible enough to fall for this is also a principal of a high school.

CobaltGeorge
157909
Points
CobaltGeorge 02/21/13 - 05:45 pm
2
2
All These Analyzer's

but not one given fact on the status or the action taken on Erica Jones.

Red Headed Step Child
4042
Points
Red Headed Step Child 02/21/13 - 05:46 pm
5
0
On the phone with Obama...

that should have been your first clue! It's nice to know he takes calls....think I'll give him a little ringy ding ding!

dichotomy
32715
Points
dichotomy 02/21/13 - 05:58 pm
6
0
Jones should be arrested and

Jones should be arrested and charged with something related to theft or scamming at a minimum. The parents who paid for this trip should all sue her in small claims court on the civil side.

Thompson should be demoted to janitor or something. Nobody that gullible should be in charge of anything that involes taxpayer money, policy, or guiding young people.

I suspect Spivey knew that it had turned into a "school funtion" against his instructions and did nothing.......he should be fired or demoted to assistant janitor for being gutless and not putting his foot down. Probably afraid to confront ODS.

gargoyle
16749
Points
gargoyle 02/21/13 - 07:40 pm
4
0
From the original story

The first draft of this news story told of a second bus chartered . Inquiring minds wonder who rode in the other bus and how did it differ from the Butler students trip .

triscuit
3064
Points
triscuit 02/21/13 - 08:10 pm
7
0
This has "cover up" all over

This has "cover up" all over it. If this Principal were white there would be an uproar. It is what it is in this town.

allhans
23615
Points
allhans 02/21/13 - 08:15 pm
1
2
Have we heard yet why Barrow,

Have we heard yet why Barrow, or someone in his office, gave this woman three hard to get tickets?
I

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 02/21/13 - 08:38 pm
0
0
If someone
Unpublished

invokes obama's name in a positive manner, I automatically consider them to be liars.

Dixieman
14941
Points
Dixieman 02/21/13 - 09:46 pm
2
1
ACTUALLY DIXIEMAN HAS TEN BILLION POINTS

Don't fault Barrow (though I did not vote for him). You want a tour of the White House or tickets to some event in DC? Call your congressman and constituent relations people will automatically give you a couple of tickets if you live in the district. Not Barrow's responsibility to vet this person

Truth Matters
6745
Points
Truth Matters 02/21/13 - 10:40 pm
1
0
Blame game

I wonder who you blamed when the teacher at Aquinas High left 28 students stranded in Europe after taking more than a quarter million dollars from some very well-connected and affluent parents?

We're they gullible, also?

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs