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Peace and Goodwill on the School Campus

In this season of peace and goodwill towards men, I would like to plea for some of the same in the school systems that offer their students the opportunity to shop for their families on campus.

For the last week and one-half, I have been taking small groups of students to our school’s PTA-run Santa Shop. For two days in a row, I took three particular students twice, when other students did not even get their first chance. Then one of those three students was allowed to shop again this morning. This put some first-time shoppers at risk of not getting time in at all!

I asked the PTA representatives if they could include a reminder to parents in their memos next year that students will be allowed only one trip to shop. I was shocked that the PTA representatives explained that they did not want to discourage multiple shopping sprees because they generated more money for the school.

I talked to my team leader. She too was dismayed at the stand of the PTA. But she also said it was hard to keep track of who shopped and how many times. Other teachers said they would not want to deal with the parents who are sending repeated envelopes with money to shop.

For the short-term, I can see that the extra sprees generate more funds for the school. For the long-term, I can see parents pulling their participation because their child did not get to shop. This fundraiser stands to fizzle out. This is a business perspective.

When schools preach fairness to all and allow this unfair act to continue, where does the school’s credibility go? Kids will start to wonder if fairness is really a school concern. This is a professional perspective.

If customers are turned away, they will stay away and take their business elsewhere. Then where is the money for the school? The win-win solution to this dilemma would be to promote only one trip per student. This way, all students who bring their money can shop and the program can last as many years as the school wishes.

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