BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The ACLU shared a letter Monday citing concerns and possible civil rights violations regarding EBR Schools’ Day of Hope event on Sept. 20.

Read the ACLU’s letter below:

On Sept. 20, thousands of students went on a field trip for a college and career fair event called “Day of Hope.” The event was held at a church and co-sponsored by 29:11 Academy. At the event, students were allegedly denied food unless they registered to vote and LGBTQ+ students allegedly had water poured on them.

Parents have threatened lawsuits, claiming they were not aware of the religious components of the field trip. The backlash was sparked after EBR Schools posted images from the event. A website called “Day of Nope” was created to collect accounts of the event and raise funds for litigation fees.

ACLU’s letter concludes with a request to meet with EBR Schools officials. The school system responded to allegations twice in September.

EBR Schools’ first statement on Sept. 21 said:

“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System has partnered with 29:11 Mentoring Families to provide additional support services for students in our district. One of these initiatives is the “Day of Hope” event. The event was structured to assist students with exploring what options are available after high school, along with allowing students to participate in breakout sessions and student-initiated activities and projects. By providing entertaining activities with an educational focus, this event was an elevation of a traditional college and career fair. Students were provided with lunch and a rare opportunity to mingle with their peers from other high schools in one setting. We look forward to seeing what our over 2,100 student participants will continue to achieve with the resources and knowledge gained from this event.”

EBR SCHOOLS

A second statement released by the school system on Sept. 27 said:

“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System aims to provide an inclusive, safe, supportive environment where students can express themselves without fear of unfair treatment. Bullying of any kind is not tolerated.

The School System agreed to work with 29:11 Academy for the purpose of providing a College and Career Day with supporting activities to EBR high school seniors. The event was held on September 20, 2022.

District leadership was unaware of any religious aspects of this event. District leadership did not approve any deviation from the planned schedule. The School System has received complaints following the event. The School System is taking these community concerns seriously and conducting appropriate follow up.

Our focus will continue to be student-centric as we review processes and work to enrich the lives of our students.”

EBR SCHOOLS