Business refusing to refund canceled field trip after North Bay fires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- Among those affected by the North Bay wildfires is a group of students who had to cancel a field trip to a leadership ropes course.

It couldn't be helped, so their teacher asked for a refund. But the owner of the business is refusing.

Santa Rosa High School yearbook teacher Jessica Dennis signed her 32 students up for what she thought would be a class bonding experience last October - a ropes course.

RELATED: Students return to schools damaged in North Bay fires

It cost $1,920 and the group did fundraising to come up with the money.

Then there were the North Bay wildfires. Seven of her students lost their homes and many were evacuated and missed three weeks of school.

She had to cancel the ropes class and got refunded half of it. But the team building business called Four Winds in Occidental refuses to refund the rest.

"We have a contractual agreement. I presume she teaches the kids the value of commitment and accountability," said Four Winds' John Springer.

"I understand that we signed a contract and at the technical level, he can keep the $960. But the question is, should he?" Dennis said. "Sometimes it's about more than the bottom line."

Four Winds says they had to pay employees on standby during the fires and that other Sonoma County schools have rescheduled. "The whole thing is a fiasco. Jessica has the choice to go ahead and reschedule any day, at any time, seven days a week between now and summer. I don't care. She can bring those kids to the ropes course, they could have that experience," Springer said.

"We missed so much school, and we have all been so busy and a lot of our lives have changed, where we live now. So it's just not possible for a lot of us (to reschedule)," yearbook editor Ashley Coscarelli said.

The class says people are sending donations into the yearbook team to make up for the money that will not be reimbursed.

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