School accused of offering students 'front of lunch line pass' for $100; parents outraged
A Florida middle school has come under fire after a fundraising form was sent out to parents stating that for a $100 donation a student would be granted a “front of the lunch line pass.”
A 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 but one offer stuck out. The form stated that a $100 donation would grant the donor 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.
“(The PTSA) which operates independently from the school financially, however, cannot make school decisions without the principal’s approval,” Brian Andrews, principal of the school, told Fox News. “Parents run the organization. They are all volunteers and any money they generate benefits the students and school.”
Parents claimed the school of “cafeteria classism,” according to ABC Action News.
“You got those who can pay, and those who cannot,” Christ Stephenson, a father of one of the school’s students, told WXYZ. Stephenson told the media outlet he was enraged when he saw the form.
“’Hey, my dad has more money than you, I get to eat first. You have to wait; you have to wait,’” Stephenson said. He confirmed that he did not sign the paperwork but instead shared the form on his personal Facebook page.
“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,’” Stephenson told News Channel 8.
Andrews told Fox News that he did not approve of the form.
“There was much brainstorming among the group to find ways to generate funds,” Andrews told Fox News. “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.”
PTSA said the “program offered” was a clerical mistake and has released a statement to WXYZ 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,” said Stephenson. “Who allowed and approved documents to be distributed to 300 some-odd students without having read it?”