Magnet school applications open amid concerns about high school field trip
BATON ROUGE - All of the East Baton Rouge Magnet Schools proudly displayed their information for more than a hundred families inside the River Center Saturday morning.
"Whatever a parent wants for their child, if it's engineering, or not, East Baton Rouge Magnet School program has it," Theresa Porter, Executive Director of Innovation for the East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, said.
Porter says there are more than 20 programs in the city. Enrollment for the next school year opens Oct. 3. Priority placements ends in December. Next week families are invited to attend the different programs.
Missing from the scene was any high-ranking administrator. None have spoken publicly since issues have been made public after seniors from across the East Baton Rouge Parish School System attended the "Day Of Hope."
"We didn't get to go. But we heard about it, and we heard it was very influential to kids," sophomore Carter Jackson said.
It was billed as a college and job fair with fun and games, but, the school-sanctioned field trip turned out to be controversial. Some likening it to indoctrination, being forced to register to vote or not get lunch.
"This was supposed to be a college fair but the girls were talked about abstinence and bullying and death and the guys played games," a senior said.
The "Day Of Hope" was put on in part by 29:11 Academy. A Google search of the organization takes you to their website, where organizers tout their influence
"There is a separation of church and state and there is concerns around whether those lines were crossed," Dawn Collins, EBR School Board Vice President, said.
On Tuesday, the school system acknowledged the negative experiences of the event on some students but claimed, "District leadership was unaware of the aspects of this event."
The event cost the school system $9,800.00. Something they later told WBRZ, they are not yet paying, because they have not gotten an invoice.
WBRZ has made several attempts to discuss the concerns with the superintendent, who called the event amazing, as well as the event organizer.
So far, that has not happened.