An attempt at raising funds by a parent-teacher-student association in Florida turned sour this month over a “front of the lunch line pass” offered up for $100.
The pass was listed on a PTSA form for a middle school in Lakeland, Florida, where parents were offered family or business sponsorships starting at $100. For that price, parents would get their last name or company logo on the PTSA website – and a “front of the lunch line pass” for their student, WFLA News Channel 8 reports.
The next level of sponsorship, offered at $250, includes all of that plus two “premium seats” at concerts and an awards ceremony.
In other words, parents with money can buy better privileges for their kids at what we assume is a public school – and, naturally, people were upset about it.
“With middle school already being a very contentious age, with hormones and everything else, the last thing you really want to do is add a food hierarchy on top of that,” one parent from the school, Chris Stephenson, told the Florida news station. “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.’”
News of the PTSA’s poor judgment quickly spread and now the story has been covered across the country, with many people labeling it a pass for rich kids to cut to the front of the line.
Fortunately, the school principal and the PTSA were quick to address the problem.
“This Family and Business Sponsorship program was explored, but we decided not to implement it,” the PTSA said, explaining that the form was sent out in a clerical error, Vice.com reports.
And the school principal sent out an email asking parents to disregard the form because it was not approved, adding this: “I do not approve of any donation that is tied to any student advantage or privilege on campus.”
Of course, not everyone agrees the lunch pass is a problem to begin with.
“This is how the world works people,” one commenter wrote, in part, in response to the WFLA story. “The more money you have the more stuff you can get.”
But other people believe it was a cruel way to make less fortunate kids feel singled out.
“Kids do not need one more thing to worry about socially,” Trista commented on a Facebook post about the issue. “Rich kids don’t need inflated egos by cutting the poor kids and not to mention the kiddos’ embarrassment who don’t have a pass. Truly shameful. Breaks my heart on all levels.”
It’s true that parent-teacher organizations need all the help they can get to raise funds to support their schools, but this attempt definitely missed the mark. Maybe they’ll consider one of these ideas next year.
What do you think about this? Should parents be allowed to buy a pass to get their kids to the front of the lunch line? Tell us in the comments.