Thursday, June 23, 2016
Eggleston: No parent complained to me about field trip
Eggleston noted that no complaints were made about trips that had been taken to Victory the previous weeks by sixth and seventh graders.
The affidavit was part of evidence submitted by the Joplin R-8 School District's attorney to support a motion for summary judgment.
The district, Eggleston, and Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder are being sued by Jane Doe, a parent of a North student who was allowed to file anonymously because of fear of reprisal against her and her family.
There was never any time in which any type of academic or religious activities were planned for any of the qualifying eighth grade students during the rewards trip time, whether at the North Middle School gym or at the Victory facility.
The rewards trip to Victory was not required in any manner and the time for the rewards celebration was set aside merely to allow the students to have a play day after their MAP testing.
On May 4, 2015, I received the first objection, via e-mail, to the trip. I responded to Mr. Cravens' (Executive Director of Secondary Instruction Jason Cravens) request for details about the rewards trip and later again confirmed that nothing was planned for the students during the time of the trip to Victory.
I received other e-mails regarding this trip, but none were from parents or guardians of our students and no parent ever contacted me questioning the activities planned or the facility at Victory.
However, because of the e-mails questioning the trip and prior to taking the students to the Victory facility, I called the Victory facility and spoke to a Victory staff member reiterating our requirement that there be no religious content or proselytizing with the students or in front of the students.
Victory confirmed that there would be no religious activity in any manner and further informed me that if parents were to mark through the religious study language (or paragraph 6) on the Victory liability waiver and release form their child/student would still be allowed to enter the Victory facility and participate fully in all of the games at Victory.
Because I had already attended the MAP rewards trip at Victory for the sixth and seventh grade classes in April and no religious activities occurred during that trip, I was confident that there would be no religious activity occurring during the eighth grade field trip scheduled for May 7, 2015.
However, before the trip and in an effort to keep my teachers informed, I briefly met with the teachers who would be attending the trip as teacher-chaperones to inform them of the e-mailed concerns that I had received, to remind them that religious activity could not occur on the trip any differently than it could occur in the classroom and to pay attention and if they noticed any religious activity or conversations occurring, they were to notify me immediately, just as they would normally be required to, and the trip would be ended.
Eggleston said he did not see any religious activity taking place during the eighth grade trip and concluded the affidavit by noting that not only did he not receive any complaints from any parents, but he had also not received any complaints from students.