The North Middle School in Joplin, Missouri, is taking eighth-grade students to a Christian ministry on May 7.
The Friendly Atheist notes that the trip is a reward for the students who have been preparing for the Missouri Assessment Program tests.
The permission/liability form for parents lists the destination on the cover page as the "Victory Sports Complex," but the Friendly Atheist notes it's actually called the Victory Ministry & Sports Complex.
The Victory Ministry & Sports Complex website states that its "purposes" include: "Exalt Jesus," "Expand the Kingdom of God" and "Equip the Body of Christ."
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The Friendly Atheist notes that the permission/liability form states in the fine print:
"We (I) understand that the officers, officials, agents, other participants and employees of Victory Ministry and Sports Complex may be inviting me or (my) our students to Bible studies and local churches of the Christian faith. While at any Victory Ministry and Sports Complex location or event (my) our student(s) has permission to participate in worship services, Bible studies or any other activities that may pertain to the Christian faith."
The Victory Ministry & Sports Complex Facebook page shows that the school has recently visited the Christian ministry.
Jason Cravens, executive director of secondary education for Joplin Schools, told the Friendly Atheist in a statement:
Popular VideoThis young teenage singer was shocked when Keith Urban invited her on stage at his concert. A few moments later, he made her wildest dreams come true:
"The trip is a celebration for the hard work the students did this year. The students voted for this location. The activities and approaches are completely secular in nature. The permission slip was the standard waiver of Victory Gym. We have not had any parents contact us about concerns, but if they do, we will assure them the secular nature of the trip.
"Your email brings a good point for us to review the waivers of locations better so our communication can be clearer. I believe removing the language you quote in the email or having it crossed out on the waiver would have created more clarity and removed the confusion for the parents regarding the nature of the trip. Definately (sic) something for us to be diligent towards in the future. Thank you, again."