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Despite contentious meeting Thursday night, EBR school board won't endorse investigation into 'Day of Hope' trip

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BATON ROUGE – Despite Thursday night's lengthy, contentious meeting, the East Baton Rouge school board won't endorse an investigation into wrongdoing at the "Day of Hope" field trip.

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Late in the meeting, the school system didn't sign off on a resolution that would formally approve the ongoing internal investigation into the heavily-criticized event.

School board officials told WBRZ the resolution constituted the following:

"The resolution was to: 1) show the board (not just the superintendent and staff) wants an independent investigation to be reported to the board 2) so the board can then act on the legal findings to ensure that any violations of law and policy don't happen again 3) and to be clear that the board disagrees with discrimination based on sex, gender or religion."

Earlier Thursday, the head of the East Baton Rouge Parish school system on said criticism about the “Day of Hope” field trip has not been fair since there is a lack of evidence of anything controversial.

“What we’ve been trying to do is find facts,” Sito Narcisse, the school system’s superintendent, told WBRZ Thursday.

The field trip — which was billed as a college and career fair — was held at a church and had heavy religious overtones with discussions about abstinence and rape, some participants have complained.

Narcisse said the school system has held similar events for years without complaints.

This year, some parents and students complained that the day turned into a religious event and featured talks on abstinence, rape and suicide.

“We haven’t seen evidence of that,” Narcisse said.

Narcisse’s first public comments came minutes before the school board was set to vote on a resolution asking for an investigation into complaints about the day.

Narcisse said the school system was already conducting its own investigation. School board members said they wanted to show their support for any investigation the school system is undertaking.

“We’ve been getting different, mixed feedback,” Narcisse said of this year’s event. “We’ve been hearing a lot of different hearsay about stuff, and so we are doing an internal review about that.”

The Day of Hope was put on in part by the 29:11 Academy, a nonprofit. Narcisse signed a $9,800 agreement with the group. That amount was $200 shy of the $10,000 figure which would have required school board approval.


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