Parents are outraged after a middle school cafeteria sent forms home that detailed a new option for students to get their lunch faster. Unfortunately, many feel the new option favors the rich over the struggling. The form they received stated their student could skip the lunch line for $100 donation in the school’s name.
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Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, thought the incentive would bring in more money for their fundraiser, but parents of all classes found it to be disrespectful and an example of classism.
The three different options, all of which vary in price, would be a fine way to get people to donate, but it was the highlighted option called “Family and Business Sponsors” that has everyone up in arms.
The $100 option gives a student a “front of the lunch line pass.”
One parent, Chris Stephenson, received the form and posted it to Facebook. Shortly after, he found thousands of other parents outraged at the school as well. In an interview with WFLA, Stephenson explained why this is a bad idea by the school.
“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,” he said. “Bullying is already a huge deal as it is, so why add yet another way of differentiating kids from each other.”
The principal of the middle school, Bryan Andrews, has told the press that he was unaware of the fundraiser and agreed with parents that it was wrong. “I have strived to be as inclusive as possible with all kids and this is not something I support,” Andrews said in a press conference.
Andrews sent a new form to all parents that entailed an apology and stated there would be no such pass to the front of the line for any student. In the same letter, Andrews wrote he spoke to the Parent Teacher Student Association, who originally created the incentive.
“Sometimes people make mistakes, I don’t think it was anything intentional at all,” he said. “They all volunteer. We just want to get it right, move forward, apologize.”
Stephenson still didn’t believe that the principal has no idea of the incentives. “Who allowed and approved documents to be distributed to 300 some-odd students without having read it?”