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------- Original message -------From: "McKenna, Vicki" <VickiMcKenna@iheartmedia.

Date: 4/12/2016 9:21 PM (GMT-06:00)
Subject: Re: Unauthorized lunch events at MHS
-------- Original message -------From:
Date: 4/12/2016 8:09 PM (GMT-06:00)
Subject: Unauthorized lunch events at MHS

Campus Messenger by Infinite Campus

Dear families,
We wanted to share the following message that was sent to Middleton High
School staff and families earlier today. We believe there is interest from our
wider District community, plus we also wanted to provide information in case
you see something in the media in the next few days.
We are writing to share with you some background on a topic your student may
have come home and shared with you. There is a small group of parents who
have been organizing free lunches at Middleton High School over the past year.
These lunches began on a very small scale with one / two parents bringing
sandwiches to their own children at MHS, sitting down with them at lunch,
outside the building and discussing their Christian faith. It then expanded to the
parents bringing more and more lunches to give to students interested in sitting
down and discussing their religious faith. In speaking with parents about
concerns regarding informal gatherings growing into larger ones with the
dissemination of food and giving away of Bibles. The parents / students moved
from outdoors on the south lawn of the school, to an off campus location (which
would have been allowable but would have required school administration to
inform parents of any incentivizing of students to eat lunch free in exchange for
attendance), and finally to Fireman’s Park in the fall of 2015. In both cases of
the south lawn and off campus locations, Steve Plank expressed an opposition to
this growing event, and conveyed to these parents that this practice violates
school and district policy.
The group went to the City of Middleton and reserved Fireman’s Park starting in
September of 2015. The parents provided large quantities of free food at the
pavilion and began more organized events. The lunch event developed the
name “Jesus Lunch” amongst MHS students, as it promoted a Christian-based
worship. Steve Plank once again asked the parents to stop holding these

lunches. They refused, and continued to expand them. The School District’s
lease of Fireman’s Park permits enforcement of school policies during school
hours / days.
The School District's concerns related to this event come down to policy
expectations that MCPASD maintains—policies in place to ensure student safety,
health and welfare. The policies in question include food handling, visitors to
campus, and expectations around student organized events. We are in no way
interested in opposing religious practice in otherwise legal circumstances. Below
are three of the policies being ignored:

Anyone providing food for students must follow the district’s food
handling standards found in the district Food Safety Plan. Food of
any kind that is served to students must be approved by the school /
district to ensure food safety, cleanliness, and health. In addition,
many students are subject to food allergies, so additional protocols
must be followed to safeguard students with these conditions. A
parent group bringing large quantities of food to a school also raises
significant questions regarding whether it is, in fact, an adult
organized event that has not followed Administrative Policy 371.

Adult visitors to school / school campus must follow Administrative
Policy 860 Visitors to the Schools, which requires registering in the
school office, or the greeter’s station. This is a requirement of all
visitors to our schools / school campus during school hours, whether
or not they are parents.

If students are interested in organizing student led activities, MHS
staff are happy to work with them and will convey the district and
school policies that govern activities. This, however, appears to be
an event initiated by adults without approval by the school.

These policy concerns have been repeatedly conveyed to the group of parents
organizing the "Jesus Lunches". Just two weeks ago, Steve Plank learned that the
parents intended to continue the lunches starting today. We have been working
actively with city officials to make sure we are on the same page with our
understanding of this situation and our lease of Fireman’s Park. Steve Plank
again asked the parents to cancel the event earlier this week in a telephone
conversation that was to precede a scheduled meeting. The response was that
they would not respect this request, and that they intended to move forward.
Instead of acknowledging and abiding by the District’s policies, the parents have
threatened legal action against the District. The District disagrees with this
position, and will continue its efforts to enforce its health, safety and welfare
policies for events involving students. If you wish to refer to the policies
referenced in this communication, you can access them on the MCPASD website

The parents contend that it is their First Amendment Right to provide free food
and hold a religiously oriented event on this property during school hours. The
District believes that we have jurisdiction of this leased property, which is part of
our campus. We believe that religious or political events do not have a place in
our school or on our campus, except when sponsored by a student group in
accordance with our rules, which require prior approval. In addition, many
students have conveyed to us their concern about a group offering free food to
incentivize participation in a religious event on campus. The result of which has
a divisive impact on our learning community. As such, we will continue to work
with the parent group to find an amicable resolution.
We hope that you find this background information helpful and look forward to
getting back to our mission of educating all students.
Dr. Stephen T. Plank, Principal
Dr. Donald P. Johnson, Superintendent

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