HISD trustee scolds Obama for canceling students' White House tour

Lanier Middle School students' tour canceled because of sequester

HOUSTON - Dozens of middle school students were devastated to find out a highlight of their spring break trip to Washington, D.C. has been canceled because of the sequester.

About 100 Lanier Middle School students have been planning the trip for a year.

The students were going to take a tour of the White House. They and their parents went through background check and received confirmation for a tour on Saturday.

Then that tour was canceled because of the sequester cuts. The last tours of the White House were scheduled for Friday.

"I think that's terrible. I can't imagine, with everything that's going on, that that's one thing they can't keep going," parent Pat Casey said.

Houston Independent School District officials sent a letter to President Barack Obama to voice their frustration.

"Now we find ourselves in the position of having to explain to them that their plans have been abruptly cancelled, and that they will not be welcome at the White House after all. Frankly, that's a hard thing to do, as we don't understand the reasons ourselves," school district Trustee Harvin Moore said. "We don't understand why, out of a $1.6 billion Secret Service budget, the Administration believes that the 1/20th of one percent that is required to fund White House tours is one of the first things to go. We don't understand why your Administration would choose to cancel the program that touches the public the most, in return for a truly miniscule budget savings. We don't understand why you have chosen to disinvite our school children from their White House."

The students flew to Washington, D.C. on Friday, hopeful that the president will change his mind.

"The First Lady has referred to the White House as the "People's House" --and I agree with her. It is the people's house - it is our house. Mr. President, this decision is solely yours and we ask you to please reconsider your decision."

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