Bardstown student tour bus surrounded by protesters in Washingto - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown student tour bus surrounded by protesters in Washington, DC

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BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- A tour bus of Bardstown High School students was surrounded by protesters Saturday evening in Washington, D.C. 

The principal, Chris Pickett, said the students were on a four-day trip to witness the inauguration and see museums. On Saturday night, the students were on a tour bus headed back to the hotel when a group of about 150 people entered an intersection and surrounded the vehicles, he said.

Cole Newton is a senior at Bardstown High School and was on the trip with 30 other students and three chaperones.

"Our tour bus driver, he honked his horn to let them know he was coming,” Newton said. “And they separated, so he began to go through. And then as he was going through, they collapsed back on us and began hitting the bus. The window cracked, and we think that's because someone threw a hard water bottle.

"And then we got out of the group of people to a stop light, and that's when more people ran up besides us and continued to beat on the bus."

Newton said the whole incident lasted about 45 seconds, and he was not scared. No one on the bus was hurt, and parents were immediately notified.

"In some ways, I’m grateful we did get to see something like that in comparison to the peaceful protest of 500,000," Pickett said. "I don't even think they were protesting anything in particular. They were just a few people off the street wanting to get some attention."

Pickett said the incident did not impact the learning experience, and the students enjoyed attending a ball afterward.

"We discussed about respecting differences,” Pickett said. “While on the bus, even, there was limited talk of views. But the talk was more about the government in action, how that's handed over and all the history behind it."

Newton and Pickett do not believe the group surrounding the bus had anything to do with the Women’s March earlier in the day.

"I don't think that what we saw Saturday morning and afternoon with the Women's March had anything to do with what we saw that evening on the bus,” Newton said. “I just think it was some people who were looking to ruin something, just to break something."

Newton plans to attend the United States Naval Academy after graduating high school, and he hopes to have a future involving politics, government or law. So witnessing this inauguration was memorable to him.

"I think we have to remember that democracy is for the people,” Newton said. “I think that through the inauguration and through the marches we witnessed, that what we are striving for is leaders who serve the people."

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