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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The family of a Brunswick County high school senior says he was left to fend for himself after he got in trouble on a trip to Spain. Now the family is searching for answers, and they say they want the chaperones held accountable.

“If I would have known what I know now, I would have never sent my son,” Cindy Kent said.

Kent says her 17-year-old son Robert was sent home early from Spain after he bought alcohol on the school trip. She says she knows he was wrong, but she says the chaperones handled the situation inappropriately.

“We got a phone call from the assistant principal, Mr. McDuffie of South Brunswick High School, and Ms. Garza stating that he would be taken to the airport and he was going to be on his own at the point,” Cindy said.

After that phone call, the Kents arranged for an airline escort to meet their son. Robert had never been out of the country, and the trip to Spain was his first time on a plane.

“I couldn’t believe that this was supposed to be a responsible adult was telling me that he is just relinquishing all responsibility at the airport in Madrid, Spain, in a foreign country,” Robert’s dad Lee Kent said.

Now, the family says they want answers from the school system.

In a statement, Brunswick County Schools said, “The student remained chaperoned and under supervision of responsible adults during the entire return trip.”

The Kents say their son was only cared for because they took extra precautions from across the ocean.

“I just think it’s outrageous, just so over the top, so irresponsible of the people that we put our faith into,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable.”

Originally Robert was going to be suspended from school. Instead, administrators decided he’d been punished enough.

At this point, none of the chaperones have been disciplined by the school.

The Kents say they are planning on talking to the district attorney about filing charges.

Comment on this Story

  • Gramps1935

    Sorry Cindy. You can’t have it both ways.


    You are validating what they are saying….geez! STOP CINDY!

  • QuietOne

    If you have so much money, then why does Junior need to break into cars and take other people’s stuff. Things that the rest of us worked hard for. BTW there was a rash of vehicle break ins in Leland this week. Junior got an alibi?

  • Guest9876341

    I feel sorry for the kid as this shows mom’s maturity level.

  • Cindy Kent

    Yes if something would of happened to our son, there would be a whole diffent situation! IT IS NOT OUR FAULT HE MADE A BAD DECISION — ARE YOU STUPID OR JUST STUPID! And sendng your 10 year old ALONE on a airplane says it all!

  • Cindy Kent

    Teachers allowing and assisting students to bring alcohol back to the states last year is a crime! Yes, Lee does know better. You just don’t have all the facts and are ignorant for making a judgment without them!

  • Cindy Kent

    It is a fact that the teachers and students purchased and brought alcohol back from Paris last year! In a meeting with the school, it was openly admitted by Assistant Principal, Mr. McDuffy, that alcohol was purchased and brought back…so much as some wine got busted in suitcases! Brunswick County School has done their investigation and have taken action in that regards. Interesting how it was okay last year by the same teachers but not okay this year….. but that still doesn’t negate that Robert was wrong. They just handled it all wrong.

  • Cindy Kent

    Detect a little jeolousy…. some of us don’t have to work because of early life decisions we responsibly made… too bad for you… keep working!

  • Cindy Kent

    Expelling a kid for purchasing alcohol for an entire year… glad you do not have any influence over decisions for teenagers! That’s great decision making! Intelligent. Robert makes a bad decision and I need to stay off my back… you got to be joking! You must not have any children or if you do, then you too must be a horible parent because kids are going to make bad decisions .. period!

  • Cindy Kent

    If you really KNEW us, you wouldn’t be calling us ignorant. We absolutely agree that Robert should be held accountable for his actions! And he was held accountable by us as well as the school. We strongly disagree with the way the school handled the situation! According to the CONTRACT WE SIGNED, Robert should have been esorted to the PLANE… not dropped off at the airport and told “You are on your own”! You are the one that needs to learn a lesson… you definately are a coward Guest123456…

  • WE

    Coming from a retired teacher, let me add: if this kid was old enough to buy alcohol, then he’s old enough to fly alone. Parent, are you kidding me? Seriously!

  • PublicAvenger

    Dr Phil would agree with me that this situation was handled wrong. It may not be his fault, that he chose not to obey the rules. Maybe he was expressing his inner self.

    Instead of striking at him, and hurting him, they should have been more positive. They should have “reminded” him of the rules. And maybe threaten to inform his parents. They overreacted by using the outdated means of ‘Direct Punishment’.

    I hope they fire every school employee involved in this incident. I hope the District Attorney, and the Spanish officals arrest and lock up, the horrible adults, who would leave this poor boy, alone, on a plane to “fend himself”.

    I hope he will get therapy, and realize how proud we are that he bravely flew alone. All by himself. I’m sick of these stupid Christians, trying to hold people accountable. Dr Phil is a much more groovy guy then Billy Graham. I hope his New Age parents sue the school for millions of dollars.

    Maybe we can make a TV documentory, or even a movie, about this terrible incident.

  • tweety

    Grand you have to love it seem life is one big circle of circumstances.

  • Grand Ole Party

    Of course he is being sarcastic, did you not read the whole post?

  • you do realize that before the kids left for the trip they had to sign a contract saying that if they broke any school rules they would be sent back on their own to the US. One would think that if you have to senior year you would be smart enough… but of course not the case with this boy in question. so what do you mean about the school stepping up the game? if the parents are that responsible they would have trained their son right and he would have respected the laws of Spain.
    Sorry about your sickness… go see a pharmacist
    best of luck!

  • Das Weibstück

    If my son pulled this crap overseas I would have smacked him silly all the way home from the airport. He would have then written an apology to the school and apologized in person.

    This boy is spoiled rotten and he will suffer from it his entire life.

  • Das Weibstück

    Spain….”It is illegal to sell alcohol to people under 18, the fine being between €30,000 and €600,000.Stores are not allowed to sell alcohol between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m after a recent law was passed.”

    Try again moron. Oh and its “you’re an idiot”, idiot.

  • Grand Ole Party

    It’s not YOUR an idiot but rather YOU’RE an idiot. Carry that a@@ back to school and let the adults have a conversation.

  • g money

    Ok comment number one he bought alcohol in Spain.
    Number two there is no legal drinking age in spain.
    That means u can be any age to purchase alcohol so do Ur self a favor along with all the morons commenting on this storyand shut up k Shanks.:)

  • QuietOne

    according to this young man’s FB page, the trip taken by the students the year before was filled with purchases of alcohol. In fact, a young lady claims a teacher (whom she names in the post) carried her alcohol back to the US for her. Nice kids… throw your teacher under the bus like that on a public forum. You do know that when she handed you the alcohol back once you landed in the US, she committed a crime, right. She could lose her job for that. Wonder how long it will take for that post to disappear…

  • Beach Bum

    Another example of bad parenting. This knucklehead thought it would be cool to buy alcohol in a foreign country while on a school trip. We already can see where this is going.

    Expell the kid and make him repeat the entire school year over, make the parents reimburse the school system the cost of the trip including airfare and perhaps, just maybe, parents will get the message.


    Terrible just terrible parenting…

  • Gramps1935

    Nice try Kent. But I guess the next time you want money, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves, and earn it. Like the rest of us have to do.

  • Guest123456

    Obviously this kid will never learn since his parents will not hold him accountable. He and his ignorant parents (whom I know personally) need to understand actions have cosequences, especially when breaking the law. Mr. Kent was very privledged to have the chance to travel. He took advantage. I am amazed this guys father is or was in law enforcement. This should not be taken down. Someone needs to learn a lesson, its obviously not going to happen at home

  • QuietOne

    Poor baby. And I do mean baby. The parents aren’t much better. You were told what the consequences would be if he broke the rules. If you didn’t agree with the rules, why did you put him on the plane in the first place. Perhaps the only traveling this boy should do is in the company of his parents so that they can put the pacifier back in his mouth when he drops it and make sure he is tucked in good and snug every night.

  • PublicAvenger

    Thousands of our brave combat soldiers, in Afghanistan, are teenagers, not much older then him. Maybe we can get one of them to escort, poor, little, unchaperoned, baby home, beacuse he can’t obey the rules.

    Does daddy really want someone imprisoned for putting his precious boy in harms way ? And leaving him alone, on a airplane ? Or is Daddy just a phony, trying to squeeze out a little money from our schools ? Get Real !

    If Daddy wants to see the real problem, he can take a good look in a mirror.

  • Guest987654

    Please take the story off the site. I do understand the parents are being too protective. The comments make good points but I’m sure they are embarrasing for the student. Mom and dad are not the ones walking the school halls wondering what his friend think of him. This is a classic case of the student paying for the parents mistake.

  • guesty

    From the story: “The Kents say they are planning on talking to the district attorney about filing charges.”

    Two questions for you to consider. First, what crime did the school commit? Second, what jurisdiction does a Brunswick County DA have in Spain?

    Lee, you as either a current or former LEO should know better.

  • Attachment Guest

    I think I saw you in the cover of Time this week w your child still breastfeeding at age 3, even up until age 5 in some cases. Attachment parenting, but I don’t think this is what Dr Sears invisioned. Time to buy baby boy a sippy cup and stop nursing already.

  • Guest111

    Ahhh so you are one of THOSE parents.

  • GuestTammy

    In many foreign countries he may have been thrown into their jail for violating their laws. 17 or not, he would have been locked up . Parents..its YOUR FAULT and YOUR RESPONSIBILITY that he violated the common sense rules of no alcohol on the trip. And if he had never been on a plane before you choose to send him on an OVERSEAS trip without YOU to chaperone him for the first time?!! Really? I doubt that. My children have flown since infants and my both my children have flown ALONE since they were 10-11 years old. The difference is they KNOW if they violate rules there are consequences. Do your son a FAVOR and hold HIM REPONSIBLE and stop trying to pass off your bad parenting to someone else. And if you say “he’s old enough to go on an overseas school trip”, then he’s old enough for the consequences. This is absurd. PARENTS: STOP teaching your kids to be helpless and victims. Start teaching them to be RESPONSIBLE AND ACCOUNTABLE. This story is ridiculous

  • WilmMan

    PA…..I seriously hope this is sarcasm coming from you….or you have flat out lost your mind

  • Hans

    Well at least the district attorney will get a good laugh. Mommy put your son’s hand down and walk away.

  • Fleet Ghost

    I flew by myself under the age of 10 several times. He is almost old enough to drink alcohol, so he’s way old enough to fly, not to mention once he’s on the plane, he’s under the supervision of the flight crew. The problem to me seems the extreme punishment for possession of a small amount of alcohol I’m sure it would have been a better learning moment if he had been admonished and allowed to continue on the trip his parents paid for if he agreed not to break any more rules. Now the parents (and he) are at odds with the school which is not a good ending to the story.

  • deputy 25

    they should suspend him if he has anytime left at that school this year or the start next year.his parents and this little snobby punk knew the rules, now deal with it!! pop the nipple out of his mouth and make him grow up! we have military teenagers fighting in wars now and you want to complain about your son that was escorted home with an adult and you want to whine after you knew the rules and i guess signed off for him to go? blame him , yourselves and not the school system. by the way, you will be the laughing stock of your community . you should have seen your little whiny selves on TV last night. make him grow up and yourselves why you are at it!!!!!!

  • Guest105

    And i suppose the fact the child bought alcohol underage doesn’t matter in the slightest bit to his parents. They are correct it is “outrageous and unbelievable” that their Junior would be expected to play by the rules like everyone else. Give me a break. He knew what the rules were before going on the trip and so did the parents. He broke the rules and now he and his parents are learning about a little thing called “CONSEQUENCES.” Consequences are what happens when you break rules. Both the parents and Junior need to accept responsibility for the fact HE CHOSE to break the rules. NOW He needs to ACCEPT the punishment for HIS ACTIONS!

  • cat71

    The boy is 17 not 7, but I guess the parents haven’t grown up yet so maybe the kid does have the mentality of a 7 year old. Instead of whining the parents need to grow up and worry about why he was buying alcohol and not worrying about how he was sent home.

  • Guest123

    This made my roll my eyes…I bet these parents are the kind who will be calling into their son’s place of employment ten years from now when he has the sniffles. All that happened to their son is a natural consequence to his actions. Being sent home, being left alone at the airport, is fitting. Were the others suppose to halt the trip just because he decided to break the rules? Were the other students suppose to go without a needed chaperone on the streets of a foreign country because this guy couldn’t handle being safe and sound in an airport? My word, it is not like he was left on a back alley and forced to catch a cab. If I were the parent, I would be happy that the consequence was as uncomfortable as possible. But I am guessing that discipline isn’t too high on these parents’ priority list. Also, he is eighteen! Isn’t it about time he grew-up?

  • Stop Crying

    Take responsibility for his actions parent and stop crying. Always wanting to focus the attention on someone else when our on pot is black.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    Anyone who thinks that a seventeen year-old is too young to travel by himself has a screw loose.

    We have truly become a nation of over-protective, over-reacting Chicken Littles.

    Of course, none of this would have arisen had junior not felt compelled to bring booze along on the trip….

  • Me Myself and I

    My mom was the same way with me. Every time I broke a rule, or got arrested, she was blaming the teachers, or the cops, but never me. She even pulled a few lawsuits, and capitolized on the situation.

    I am now 40. I have been in prison three times, and have never worked a day in my life. I still live with her. Seeing the Kent’s , it makes me feel good to know we still have parents like my mom.

  • Gramps1935

    I cannot agree with the Kent’s more. “It’s just unbelievable.”

    Your son broke the rules, and he was sent home. Either this is just a play to squeeze money from the school system, or you are the two most pathetic parents in NC.

    If ths second point is true, then I hope you enjoy standing up for your poor little boy, 10 years from now, when he still hasn’t grown up a a bit, and is still breaking the rules, and you are still blaming everyone, but him.

    In a manner of speaking, I feel very sorry for this young man.

  • PublicAvenger

    This horrifies me. To think they would leave a 17 year old boy on a plane, all by himself, all the way from Spain. I’m just glad he’s safe, and I hope we can get him therapy, and the school system will step up better. And pay off for this horrible nightmare, mistake

    This makes me sick. 60 years ago, we were sending our precious 17 year olds to Normandy Beach, to kill our countries enemies, and defend us. They became men, real fast. And we are very proud of them.

    Today, we have grown men, who demand that they be given everything, and expect to be taken care of. No wonder we are falling apart. So what if he purchased liquor. I’m so glad moma’s attacking the school, and standing up for her poor little baby.

  • Justin America

    spokespersons for home schooling, have been notified the “Brunswick County school system” will soon be renamed the “Kent school system”… once the law suit is complete. We are all learning a lot from the local public school system, aren’t we kids?

  • Guest832

    Seems like mommy is treating her son like a 5 year-old. A 17 year-old needs an escort to return home on a plane? This kid will never make it in the real world.

  • Guest31

    Since your child is so grown that he had alcohol before the age then he is grown enough to come home on a plane by himself. He is 17 or 18 come on going to college next year…Quit babying him!!!!!!!

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