Nebo School Board Bans Art Students From World Class Exhibit in Vegas

Nebo School Board Bans Art Students From World Class Exhibit in Vegas

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News specialist Stacey Butler reportingStudents at Springville High School won't be visiting a world class art exhibit because some officials are apparently afraid they might see some inappropriate things on the way to the museum.

An art teacher is angry tonight, after her supervisors said "no" to a plan to take her students to see two famous exhibits of Russian art at Las Vegas hotels.

The decision is apparently as much an issue of morality as education.

The Nebo School District has been at the center of controversy before. You'll remember the debate over losing the Springville mascot, the Red Devils, because some people felt it sent the wrong moral message.

Now, the district is apparently sending another message -- no red devils will be allowed in Sin City.

Never before seen in the U.S.-- Russian artifacts..."The egg is made as an exact replica of the Uspensky Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow..." on display in the Bellagio and Venetian Hotels in Las Vegas.

"To have these brought here to America and within such a short distance it's just amazing," says Springville High School teacher Beverly Burdett.

But Mrs. Burdett can't take her 35 Russian and art history students because the Nebo School Board said no.

"The wishes of the board were number one -- don't spend the night. We're not doing that. Number two, have enough chaperones -- we're doing that. Number three, don't have it be your destination. We changed that. We're at the point where we don't understand why we cannot stop there for three to four hours in the middle of the daytime," Burdett says.

After numerous e-mails and meetings, the board still says no.

"They do not feel comfortable," says Lana Hiskey with the Nebo School District.

Do they have a reason?

"No comment. They do not feel comfortable," Hiskey says.

"To have the school board say we can't go because, well, they won't give a reason, it's just really upsetting," says Springville High School student Jessica McSweeney.

The assistant superintendent told Mrs. Burdett that she would be in violation of the school board if she took children through a casino attached to the museum.

So she made special arrangements with the museum curator to make sure students could avoid the casino and go straight to the exhibits.

But the board wouldn't budge. Outraged parents say a board member gave this reason for the decision:

"That Las Vegas is a sinful, evil city and no students from the Nebo School District would be allowed to go there," says parent Patrice Bolen.

"The Springfield Red Devils are forbidden from even entering downtown Sin City, but Reno isn't off-limits, and neither is L.A. or San Diego. Just where do you draw the line?" Burdett asks.

"We have billboards in Salt Lake where women have their bosom hanging out. You have this all over the world. Are we going to ban an entire city because of those kinds of things that happen?"

Mrs. Burdett has been teaching at the high school for 22 years and taken students safely on countless trips.

She and her students will leave Friday to visit an art museum in San Diego instead of Las Vegas.

On their way, they are not permitted to stop for a restroom break at the Bellagio or the Venetian, or any hotels on the strip.

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