Day of Hope: ACLU warns of potential civil rights violations during EBR schools' controversial trip
BATON ROUGE - The American Civil Liberties Union published a letter Monday saying it's looking into potential civil rights violations at the East Baton Rouge School System's "Day of Hope" field trip, which has drawn backlash from students, parents and at least one school board member in recent weeks.
Since the system bussed roughly 2,000 high school students Sept. 20 to Living Faith Christian Center for the event, which was initially billed as a college and career fair, complaints have come in from attendees and parents about the trip.
Many of those claims framed it as a religious retreat where students were separated by gender. Some parents alleged that boys were treated to games and prizes while the girls were made to listen to discussions of sexual abuse and other "traumatic" topics.
Others claimed that students were denied lunch until they registered to vote.
“All students have the right to be treated equally in school, no matter their sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or faith,” ACLU of Louisiana Advocacy Director Chris Kaiser said in a statement. “East Baton Rouge Schools’ Day of Hope subjected students to differential treatment based on harmful sex stereotypes, in the context of school-sponsored religious programming, and without families’ consent. We are all free to exercise our religious beliefs individually, but it is never the government’s role to promote or endorse a specific religious viewpoint. It is imperative that EBRS remembers its constitutional duties to its students.”
Last week, a group looking to fund possible litigation in response to the event asked more attendees to come forward with their experiences.
Read the full letter from the ACLU here.
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