Joplin school district loses lawsuit over field trips

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that the Joplin School District should not have taken students on field trips to a Christian-centered community center.

The Joplin Globe reports the American Humanist Society sued the district over two 2015 field trips to Victory Ministry and Sports complex.

The lawsuit claimed permission slips for the trip required parents to allow their children to participate in worship services, Bible studies or other Christian-based activities.

The school district contended the trips were for the secular purpose of rewarding students for good grades and good behavior.

But the court ruled students heard religious messages at public expense, during the school day, and the permission slips clearly permitted Victory to invite students to participate in religious activities.

A settlement amount has not been determined.