Marion, IL students witness unruly protest - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Marion, IL students witness unruly protest

(Source: Anna Bartle) (Source: Anna Bartle)
(Source: Anna Bartle) (Source: Anna Bartle)
(Source: Anna Bartle) (Source: Anna Bartle)
(Source: Anna Bartle) (Source: Anna Bartle)

Some Heartland students found themselves in the heart of a protest. 

Seven Marion High School students and six chaperones and staff left Marion, Illinois on Thursday, January 19 headed for the nation's capital for the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump.

The students also experienced an unexpected civil discourse while they were on the bus completely frightening, one of the students said.

"It was scary for a minute and it was like, 'ok what is exactly happening,' but after the fact it's like, 'ok, we were ok,' it was alright, we might have been shaken up a bit, but we were ok," said Anna Bartle, one of the top students in her senior class.

Bartle said they were also yelling, spitting, throwing things and even spray painted the bus. 

This was the school second time take a group to see an inauguration. 

People had different perspectives of the protesters.

Bartle explained that the protesters were not that angry earlier in the day, but when the sunset it was a different story.

"When we were walking around the march during day, no one was rude or violent, so this was probably just an outside group I would say," she said. "I did see the pink hats and different posters."

Dr. Kyle Childers, a chaperone on the trip, said the majority of the protest he witnessed was "fine," but they just ended up getting "caught by that particular group looking to cause trouble."

The principal of Marion High School, Jacob Davis, found out about the incident of his students within an hour of it happening from one of the teachers on board the trip.

"[The teacher] reassured me that they were safe at all time, that it was a minor incident and that it didn't disrupt their itinerary or plans for the remainder of the trip," he said. 

The trip was organized by a company called  Worldstrides, an educational student tour, which the principle says is reputable. 

There were approximately 55 people on the bus, some from Marion, Ill., Arkansas and Kansas.

Below is the statement from Marion High School:

"On Saturday, January 21, 2017, a group of protesters in Washington D.C. vandalized the bus transporting Marion High School students, staff, and chaperones. Protesters threw objects at the bus and spray painted the sides of the bus. The incident lasted only a few minutes causing a minor delay. All of the students and staff were safely transported to their destination, and the trip continued as planned without any additional interruptions. Parents were notified of the incident. No Marion Junior High School students, staff, and chaperones were on this bus nor did they experience any such incidents. All of the MHS students, staff, and chaperones attending the inaugural events safely returned to Southern Illinois as planned on the night of Sunday, January 22, and returned to school on Monday, January 23."

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