Thursday, July 07, 2016
Lawsuit claim: Joplin R-8 steers students toward Christian venues
That claim was included in suggestions against the school district's motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit filed against it by "Jane Doe" and her children concerning a May 2015 North Middle School field trip to Victory Ministries and Sports Complex in Joplin.
The lawsuit originally named former Superintendent C. J. Huff and North Middle School Principal Brandon Eggleston as defendants, in addition to the district After Huff "retired," his successor, Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder, was substituted as a defendant.
JSD (Joplin School District) omits the fact that Victory Ministry posts about JSD school trips on its Facebook page regarding “worship services.”
JSD also omits the fact that photographs and information about other school trips to Victory are available on JHS’s official school website. In addition to the two NMS trips, Soaring Heights Elementary and Columbia Elementary also took schoolchildren to Victory for celebration field trips in May 2015. JSD completely omits these trips from its MSJ (motion for summary judgment).
JSD also omits any discussion of the District-wide secretary’s luncheon held in May 2014 (at Victory).
JSD uses numerous other Christian venues but no non-Christian religious venues, for a variety of school events. For instance, JSD used the First Baptist Church for three separate elementary schools’ field trips on March 6, 2015. JHS used the First United Methodist Church for several school events in 2011, 2013, and 2015. JHS utilized the Fellowship Baptist Church for events in 2010 and 2014.
There is no evidence JSD has held school events at the Joplin mosque A/K/A Islamic Center, which was located at 1805 W 32nd Street, Joplin, MO 64804. The mosque survived the tornadoes and was large enough to serve as the headquarters for Muslim relief workers “who flew in from around the country to see what they could do to help Joplin residents get back on their feet.” (The suggestions do not mention that there was a long time period when the mosque was not available after it was burned down, but the accompanying exhibits include a Joplin Globe article about the reopening of the mosque.)
There is no evidence JSD has held school events at the United Hebrew Congregation located at 702 S Sergeant, Joplin, MO 64801.
The suggestions also note that Victory's rules regarding Christian behavior are a problem.
JSD completely ignores Victory’s Bylaws and religious purposes.
Victory does not permit renters and users to express beliefs that are not “biblically sound” while on its premises.
Victory will not rent its facility to Buddhists, Hindus or other non-Christians for non-Christian religious activity.
Victory’s Bylaws expressly condemn “homosexual behavior.”
Paragraph 12 of Victory’s new waiver form states in part: “Victory Ministry and Sports Complex reserves the right to refuse service to: Parent/Guardian and Participants, ‘users’ or ‘renters’ of the facilities and grounds, which they believe or suspect may be in support of, or offer a service, product or message that conflicts, or may conflict with the values held by Victory Ministry and Sports Complex.”
Victory’s Bylaws also expressly reserve the right to “refuse service to ‘users’ or ‘renters’ of the facilities and grounds, which they believe or suspect may be in support of or offer a service, product or message that conflicts, or may conflict with the biblical values held by Victory Ministry and Sports Complex.”
Victory’s predecessor, The Bridge Ministries, publicly announced its mission is to “reach area teens with the gospel of Jesus,” and that “Victory Ministries . . . is a perfect fit to continue this vision.”
Victory flyers sent to Joplin schools featured the Victory logo with the Christian cross and “Ministry.” One included a testimonial from a JHS school official describing JHS events at Victory.
Both sides have filed motions for summary judgment.
The mother was allowed to file her lawsuit as "Jane Doe" because of fear of reprisals from people in the community.
Huff, R-8 officials received numerous warnings lawsuit would be filed
Joplin R-8 officials on field trip: We didn't do anything wrong