Outrage from parents in a Florida school district is making headlines.
An unapproved fundraising letter offering a front-of-the-line lunch pass for students whose parents donated $100 somehow made its way into the orientation packet of a Florida middle school. Many parents are outraged, saying the $100 pass program sends a bad message to impressionable children.
One dad said that children who receive such passes would certainly hold it over their classmates, saying things like, “Hey, my dad has more money than yours, so I get to eat first. You have to wait; you have to wait.” That father, C. Stephenson, of Lakeland, Florida, told reporters that he did not sign the paperwork but he did share the form on his personal Facebook page.
It all started when the PTSA sponsorship form for the Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Fla. was sent out to the students’ parents to raise money for the school. Parents who would donate $100 would get a “last name or company logo feature on the website, as well as PTSA events AND front of the lunch line pass,” according to ABC Action News.
“You got those who can pay, and those who cannot,” Stephenson told reporters. “It’s like, ‘I have money, I’m in the front of line now. All you poor kids get in the back of the line.’”
After parents accused the school of “cafeteria classism,” Lawton Chiles Middle Academy explained that sending the form was a mistake, because it was never approved by the school’s principal, Brian Andrews.
According to Andrews, he would never have approved such a scheme.
“(The PTSA) which operates independently from the school financially, however, cannot make school decisions without the principal’s approval,” Andrews told Fox News. “Parents run the organization. They are all volunteers and any money they generate benefits the students and school.”
He added, “There was much brainstorming among the group to find ways to generate funds. I believe the intentions were meant to be beneficial, however, parents do not always have the perspective of a principal. Donations are welcome and accepted, however this addition including front of the lunch line was not approved by me, and our school goes above and beyond to be inclusive of all students. This simply did not reflect our philosophy and I felt fortunate to be in a position to eliminate it before it got off the ground.”
The PTSA has released a statement regarding the form:
“We look to strive to look for new and innovative fundraising ideas to enhance the school experience for our students. We offer a variety of fundraising options for our students and families to choose from each year. This Family and Business Sponsorship program was explored but we decided not to implement. Due to a clerical error, the form was inadvertently included in the Orientation packets. Our families have been notified this program is not being offered. The intent of our PTSA is to always do the best for our students and families.”
“Where were the checkpoints missed?” asked an incredulous Stephenson. “Who allowed and approved documents to be distributed to 300 some-odd students without having read it?”
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