A Florida middle school will not be moving forward with an initial offer to let kids skip to the front of the lunch line — for a fee.
Parents of students at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland received a Parent-Teacher-Student Association sponsorship form sent out to raise money for the school, with one line item promising “last name or company logo feature on the website, as well as PTSA events AND front of the lunch line pass” with a $100 donation, ABC Action News reports.
Among those who spoke out against the offer? Dad Chris Stephenson, who told ABC Action News it was “not okay” for certain kids to be able to get their lunch first based on what their parents pay.
” ‘My dad has more money than you, [so] I get to eat first. You have to wait,’ ” Stephenson told ABC Action News of how he viewed the way the pass would affect kids’ dynamic with each other.
Stephenson, who shared the form to Facebook, also spoke to News Channel 8 about the incident, saying, “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.’
“Polk County has a very high rate of food insecurity when it comes to kids,” he added to News Channel 8. “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.”
Following the incident, a statement from PTSA addressed the situation and attributed it to a “clerical error”, according to WXYZ.
“We look to strive to look for new and innovative fundraising ideas to enhance the school experience for our students,” the PTSA told the local station. “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,” the PTSA continued in the statement. “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.”
According to News Channel 8, school Principal Brian Andrews sent an email to parents, assuring them that the fundraiser would “not be taking place at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy.”
“As a PTSA group, they’re always looking to for creative ways to raise funds. I think it was brainstorming on their part, unfortunately, it needs to be approved by me, however it seems like this didn’t pass my desk,” he wrote, News Channel 8 reports.
Andrews — who has been principal for four years — added to ABC Action News, “Nobody is a second-class citizen here, and I would encourage anybody to speak to parents that have been here.”