Sylvan Hills students react to rough encounter in D.C.

Students detail rough encounter at D.C. protest

SHERWOOD, Ark. (KTHV) - Four Sylvan Hills High School students and their teacher faced a scary situation in Washington D.C. during inauguration weekend. They were on a bus when they met a group of protesters who were protesting in the street.

It was a school trip that was planned for more than a year.

"We saw where Robert E. Lee lived, we saw JFK's and his family's grave site and learned a lot,” said student Domanique Hunt.

On Saturday, student Scarlett Averett and teacher Greg Frantal posted videos on Twitter showing their bus driver driving towards protesters and a standoff occurred for a brief moment.

But, it's their reaction to the whole ordeal may surprise you most.

"Saturday we were doing our sightseeing and we're trying to get from the American Museum across the National Mall to the World War II Museum and we actually had to walk through the Women's March," said Frantal. "That was very peaceful, we had no problems with that. My girls enjoyed it; seeing the peaceful march."

Averett said the atmosphere was awesome and a different experience, but said the altercation on the bus was an "eye opener."

"We got to the bus, heading back, and we came to a spot where there was a human chain blocking the road," Frantal recalled. "Our bus driver stopped. We were at a light and he crossed an intersection very slowly [and] honked his horn."

Frantal said that some of the people out there moved out of the way while others got violent. A video posted by Shuttershot45 on YouTube shows the incident. In it, the bus stops as the crowd blocks its way, but soon begins moving forward. One protestor, in a black hoodie, punches the driver side mirror and Frantal said another person spray painted parts of the bus.


 

On Twitter, Kate Austin posted a video of the bus moving forward into the crowd before the crowd opens up and the bus drives through.

"I was scared. At one point, I just closed my eyes because I didn't know what was going to happen. Most places we went there was security. So, I wasn't worried about getting hurt, but there I didn't know what could have happened," recalled Jordyn Harris.

The girls said what happened on the bus was only a small, albeit terrifying part of a great trip.

"I don't think it ruined my trip. I would live in D.C. if I could. I loved everything about it. Even the protest," Averett said.

Their teacher used the scary situation as a teaching moment. He said the two protests they came across had a clear difference. He thinks the latter group had different motives.

"If you're having a peaceful protest, why do you bring spray paint," Frantal asked. "It's telling me and it's telling the students that you have an intent to do something else.”

The teacher and the district said they won't have any hesitations about letting students go on field trips like these.

Pulaski County Special School District told us the "good and educational" aspect of the trip has far outweighed the incident.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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