Mandatory school fundraisers single out struggling families

October 20, 2013

Dear Editor,

A note was sent home with my fifth grade daughter from Meigs Intermediate School Tuesday night that has my family very upset. It says that if she doesn’t sell fundraisers then she won’t be included in any field trips unless she pays for herself. She said her teacher explained that each child should have no problem selling at least $100 if he/she wants to be included. She was heart-broken. The teacher explained that you can at least buy a $5 knife if nothing else. Hannah knows we don’t even have $5 right now and was extremely upset.

Hannah has tried and tried to sell stuff. We live far out in the country and have no neighbors that she knows or that would be willing to buy from her. My family members are all on a very limited income or have their own children to buy from. My husband took the last fundraiser to work with him, and the one other employee (he works at a small company that only employs two people) couldn’t afford to buy any, and his boss has his own kid to buy from.

My husband is just getting back to work after being laid off most of the summer and fall. We are on a very very limited income. We try to buy the $1 raffle tickets and the 50-cent tattoos that benefit breast cancer research when we can, but we count every penny just to do that. We are barely able to purchase school pictures and other school things. We cannot buy anything from the fundraisers, and no one our child knows can either. So this means that our child will be (according to the note) left out of all field trips, because I know we can’t pay for them.

This is very very upsetting to her. She is a good girl and tries so hard in school, and she is being singled out and left out of field trips because we are struggling financially right now. So the message she just got today in class is that if you are poor then you are left behind. SAD!!!!!

We struggle to give our children all the advantages they need to excel in school like Internet, etc., but fundraisers are not in our budget. We hope my husband’s hours pick up soon, but that will be spent on Christmas not on fundraisers. We are happy to donate a little at a time or take up money from family members for field trips a little at a time where 100 percent of the funds goes to the field trips not to make a company richer (perhaps a change drive like we did a few years ago for Emi’s park).

Last year my husband’s hours were great and when asked to send in money for field trips, we sent in double and asked they use it for someone who couldn’t afford it. Our children also took up donations for a family in need for Christmas. Now this year in our year of very little, no one wants to help our kids. Great lesson to teach the kids at a young age. Way to go promoting poverty Meigs Intermediate fifth grade staff. Shame on you.

P.S. Last year our son was in first grade. They planned a circus trip which was pricey. The kids were sooo excited. The teachers sent home a note saying please try your best to sell the fundraising items. If we do not meet our goal the children will all have to pay an equal fee each to attend but no child will be left out because of inability to pay. THANKS! We sent in double! See the lesson is with a little humbleness and humanity and sincere love for the children you can get the desired outcome without teacher bullying! I believe the first grade teachers have a lot to teach the fifth grade teachers!

Robin Erwin,

Pomeroy, Ohio