Joplin School District will pay damages, lawyer fees for lawsuit

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JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - A federal judge ordered the Joplin School District to pay $1 in damages as well as attorney fees for a lawsuit against it over two field trips in 2015 to a Christian-focused community center.

The Joplin Globe reports Judge Doug Harpool ordered the district on Thursday to pay the fees for the parent of two district students who won a lawsuit over field trips to Victory Ministry and Sports Complex.

Harpool ruled on March 9 in favor of the unidentified parent, who claimed the North Middle School field trips violated the First Amendment.

The district said the trips were secular and meant to reward students for good behavior. Harpool found students heard religious messages at public expense.

The judge also prohibited the district from conducting future school-sponsored activities at Victory or "any other religious venue."