- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Joplin school officials are being sued over claims that they violated the U.S. Constitution by allowing students to go on a field trip earlier this month at a Christian ministry.

The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1KrYBbf ) reports that the suit was filed by the American Humanist Association, which advocates for the separation of church and state.

“Proselytizing to kids on a field trip disrespects the rights of students of minority faiths and of no faith,” said Roy Speckhardt, the group’s executive director. “No child should be forced to choose between attending an unconstitutional field trip or missing a day of school.”

The Joplin School District said in a statement that they’re reviewing the lawsuit that names Superintendent C.J. Huff and North Middle School principal Brandon Eggleston as defendants. District spokeswoman Kelli Price said students selected the location at Victory Ministry and Sports Complex and the district is “confident in a positive outcome regarding this case once the facts are revealed.”

“No religious exercises or proselytizing took place on the field trip nor has the lawsuit alleged any such activity took place,” Price said in a statement.

Plaintiffs in the suit are an unidentified Joplin mother and her two children, including one who attends the middle school.

The suit says a permission slip sent home to parents for the May 8 field trip said that they would “allow their child to participate in worship services, Bible studies or any other activities that may pertain to the Christian faith.”

The plaintiff’s child didn’t attend the outing. The lawsuit contends the parent was forced to choose between allowing her child go on a field trip believed to be unconstitutional or no school for her child that day.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com


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