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Students say they were ‘tricked’ into attending twisted religious event

via Facebook/EBR Schools

The East Baton Rouge school system in Louisiana has been accused of enticing hundreds of high school students to attend a religious event this week disguised as a college and career fair.

Once the students arrived at the scene – a church called Living Faith Christian Center – they say they found something very different from a job fair called “Day of Hope”. Although several colleges attended the event, students said the focus seemed to be on something else.

Students were reportedly split into two groups by gender, forced to register to vote in order to get the promoted free food and listen to speakers share disturbing stories of rape, suicide and abstinence. A teacher claimed in a Facebook post that some transgender students were bullied by their peers at the event.

Now, a group called “Day of Nope” is seeking to take legal action over the episode and is asking contestants to share their experiences via a new website. “It was supposed to be a college fair, but the girls were told about abstinence, bullying and death. And the guys played games,” a student told ABC affiliate WBRZ, who reported on the latest backlash from the event.

“Boys were encouraged to perform macho acts while girls were encouraged to forgive men who raped and assaulted them,” says a GoFundMe for the legal effort, which raised $75 on Saturday. “Speakers subjected students to graphic tales and re-enactments of suicide, which left some students with past loss from suicide disturbed and upset with no emotional support to help them. Students were found in the bathroom crying.

“In violation of federal law, the lunch was conditioned on completing voter registration forms and other election-related materials were distributed to students,” adds the fundraising page, titled “Fight Back Against ‘Day of Hope’ Trauma”.

Brittney Bryant, a biology teacher who complained about the event on Facebook, said ‘the boys were instructed to hang out while the girls were left at church to ‘girl talk’. My transgender child was discriminated against for dating.

“I stayed and listened to the discussion,” Bryant added. “They talked about rape, forgiving the abuser in life, suicide, prayer leadership and many other dark and controversial topics. We had women in the restroom crying over the talking points.

During this time, Bryant claims, the boys’ chat was called “real talk” and included “masculine chauvinistic competition for monetary reward,” including push-ups. “They were excited and encouraged,” she wrote in her social media post.

A student named Alexis Budyach also took to Facebook to detail what she called “a horrific experience” that began with “rap battles and singing contests, harmless fun”.

His mother, Bonnie Kersch, said the lawyer that they had no idea that the “college fair” would be held in a church. “She felt tricked into thinking she was going to a college and career fair,” Kersh told the Baton Rouge newspaper, “that she proselytized and prayed. “

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After the icebreaker, the male students were asked to leave the room, Budyach said in his message. “As a fluid person, I don’t identify as either a boy or a girl, so this was a troubling situation for me,” Budyach wrote. “However, due to the nature of this program in a church, I immediately assumed that I would be discriminated against if I went with the boys, so I sat still and kept my mouth shut. Then, while the girls were all alone, the host introduced three women meant to “guide us on our journey to becoming young queens.”

Budyach said the first speaker was a female pastor, who taught about staying true to yourself and not trying to fit in with the crowd. “One of the examples she used for this was how she kept her virginity in high school and college,” Budyach wrote. “After announcing this proudly, she expected applause. She mentioned that everyone knew her as “the good Christian girl” and that she was proud of it. »

The second speaker, Budyach added, “was involved in the education sector in some way” and explained “how a guy she met on a dating app ended up trying to kill her by strangling her”. The woman allegedly told the students that she was keeping their romance a secret, so no one would know if he murdered her. “She used this to finally make the case that if something is to be kept secret, it shouldn’t be happening at all,” Budyach wrote.

After this warning about domestic violence, Budyach says, the woman “also pointed out that if she had waited for the man God intended for her, it wouldn’t have happened. She uses this to shame the concept of “dating” and has taken a soulmate approach to the situation.

“Furthermore,” Budyach wrote, “she explained that she forgave her ex-boyfriend for his attempted murder, even though he was not sorry. Again, there could be a valuable message, but it’s lost in the traumatic storytelling and religious imagery.

The third speaker was a nurse with a doctorate, Budyach continued, and “gave an extremely detailed description of the morning she found her son’s body after he hanged himself.”

Baptist Girls’ School Circle of Hope hit with sex trafficking lawsuit

“She explained that it happened because her son had been bullied,” Budyach said. “She used this story to say that people these days are too mean to each other and we need to stick together. For the third time, a possibly useful message hidden behind an extremely traumatic account of a day we had no warning or idea we were going to learn from.

When the two groups of students were called into the room, a speaker named Donk “told the most fantastic story imaginable,” Budyach said.

“He started by saying that when he was 9 years old he was shot in the stomach and saw his intestines fall out of his hands. Then he was paralyzed and in a wheelchair from 11-13 years old (I don’t know what happened from 9 to 11) One day, according to him, he was with his grandmother who was snoring very loudly and he started wiggling his toes and was no longer paralyzed. Then he started “having fun with the wrong crowd” and ended up in jail with a life sentence + 90 years for two counts of armed robbery and murder. point he was sad in prison and tried to kill himself with a sheet (which he demonstrated with a sheet of props he had on stage), but somehow he changed state of mind and got out of jail,” Budyach wrote.

“At the end of it all, the host made the audience make a choice. He said, ‘If you want to eat, the pizza is right outside these doors for you. If you choose change, if you want to improve , come towards me towards the stage.’ By then we hadn’t eaten and frankly I was done being traumatized so I left the building.

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In a statement, the school district appeared to defend the field trip, which was conducted in partnership with 29:11 Mentoring Families, a religious nonprofit organization for at-risk youth. (The group’s website states, “We believe that by being inspiring, intentional, and intimate, we are able to point our students to Jesus Christ who defines their future and changes the world.”)

“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System has partnered to provide additional support services to students in our district,” the school system said. “One such initiative is the ‘Day of Hope’ event. The event was structured to help students explore options available after high school, while allowing students to participate in small group sessions and student-initiated activities and projects. By providing entertaining activities focused on education, this event was an elevation of a traditional college and career fair.

“Students received a lunch and a rare opportunity to mingle with their peers from other high schools in the same setting. We look forward to seeing what our more than 2,100 participating students will continue to accomplish with the resources and knowledge gained from this event.

A Facebook video from August 31 promotes the event with 29:11 founder Tremaine Sterling standing alongside school system superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse. “I’m so excited about this partnership,” Narcisse says in the video. “We have great things to come between EBR and 29:11 Academy. This will be where all seniors from all high schools go. Just one of many partnerships we have coming up.

“So save the date,” adds Sterling, “it’s going to be amazing. Thousands of people under one roof, to grow, to improve.

Trey Holiday, a student who attended the event, said the lawyer that the university portion of the event included outdoor tents for only a few schools and programs.

“It felt more like a spiritual event than a career and college fair,” he said.

If you or a loved one are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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