HOUSTON: A US school sent out a fundraising form that offered students a USD 100 'pass' that would entitle them to jump to the front of the lunch queue, sparking outrage among parents who accused the institution of 'cafeteria classism'.
A Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) sponsorship form for the Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, was sent out to the students' parents to raise money for the school but one offer stuck out.
The form stated that a USD 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," ABC Action News reported.
Later, the PTSA said the form was circulated by mistake due to a "clerical error" and the fundraiser was not being implemented.
The letter, however, evoked a sharp response from parents who slammed it as promoting 'cafeteria classism'.
"'Hey my dad has more money than you, I get to eat first you have to wait you have to wait'," Christ Stephenson, a father of a pupil, speculated what the form would incite from young students.
"Polk County has a very high rate of food insecurity when it comes to kids. 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," Stephenson told News Channel 8.
Stephenson and other parents were outraged with many reaching out to the principal of the academy, who said he did not even sign off on the paperwork.
"This definitely hits home for me and I am very upset about it," Brian Andrews, the principal of Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, was quoted as saying.
The PTSA, in a statement, said the fundraising programme was explored but was not to be implemented and the letter went out due to a mistake.
"We look to strive 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," the PTSA said.
"This Family and Business Sponsorship programme was explored but we decided not to implement it. Due to a clerical error, the form was inadvertently included in the Orientation packets. Our families have been notified this programme is not being offered," it said.
"Nobody is a second-class citizen here and I would encourage anybody to speak to parents that have been here," Andrews said.