Friday, June 26, 2015

Huff attorney: We didn't do it, but if we did, it was to allow equal access by religious groups

In a response to the First Amendment lawsuit filed over North Middle School's May 8 field trip to Victory Ministries and Sports Complex, the attorney for Joplin R-8 Superintendent C. J. Huff and North Principal Brandon Eggleston denied all allegations, but also says their actions "are protected in order to avoid viewpoint discrimination and to allow equal access to religious organizations."

In the response, Joplin attorney Karl Blanchard acknowledged that the students signed permission slips and that the one, the petition included was an accurate depiction. The permission slip, which was provided by Victory Ministries and Sports Complex clearly states that employees "may be inviting the students to Bible studies and local churches of the Christian faith."

Blanchard also acknowledged that an e-mail from Huff to the attorney for Jane Doe, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of children, was an accurate depiction. In that e-mail, Huff said the trip was secular in nature, but agreed that there was a problem with the permission slip. "Your e-mail brings a good point for us to review the waivers of locations better so our communication can be clearer. I believe removing the language on the waiver would have created more clarity and removed the confusion for the parents regarding the nature of the trip.  Definitely something for us to be diligent towards in the future."

Blanchard argues that the field trip was "totally in secular in nature."

Information about the lawsuit can be found in the May 27 Turner Report.


kitty chiwawa said...

If it was totally secular in nature, the walls would not be covered with banners proclaiming their belief system for anyone that could read to notice.

Really? said...

Okay fellow Christians, imagine you go to a BBQ for nothing but a good time, No one's beliefs or agenda is ever mentioned verbally. You are surrounded by atheist banners proclaiming God is a myth. You and I would both be offended. Now imagine your boss said he is a proud atheist, like almost all of your co-workers. You have the option to stay back at the office, or stay at home, You either go along amd ignore the surroundings or stand out as an outsider in your company, Now, imagine there is no other company at which to work in this town. Your tax dollars fund the company. Now, imagine you are twelve.

We should not underestimate the impact this situation has had on the plaintiff and possibly others. It is easy to be nonchalant about it all when you are a member of the majority. I know if this outing were a pro anything in which we don't believe, we would all be up in arms.

Anonymous said...

If this was, in part, to "allow equal access to religious organizations" I'm curious which other religious organizations have been provided that equal access. Huff is so full of BS.

Anonymous said...

Makes sense to me. If the school is supposed to be neutral about religion, then it shouldn't automatically exclude an entertainment venue from consideration just because it is operated by a religious organization. A few banners and crosses shouldn't offend anyone more than driving down the street, and no one should have thought the school was endorsing religion or engaging in a religious exercise. This sounds like nothing more than someone looking for a quick buck on a settlement, a whole bunch of attorney fees, and/or an attack on a non-profit organization, all at the expense of Joplin taxpayers and preventing kids from having a fun day in a nice place.