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Candy Sales Risky And Unnecessary Distraction Schools Are For Education, Not Marketing Exercises.

Fri., Dec. 19, 1997

Almost everyone at Lakes Middle School in Coeur d’Alene was ecstatic last year when Principal Larry Hill announced an end to candy sale fund-raisers.

At the time, teachers were tired of warehousing candy in their rooms. Secretaries were tired of counting money. Students were tired of begging door to door to raise funds for books, computers, playground equipment, uniforms, blah, blah, blah. And parents, particularly mothers, were tired of shaking down relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to help little Johnny or Suzy meet sales goals. One Lakes family donated $150 to the school, such was its enthusiasm about the new policy. In fact, at Back-to-School Night, parents cheered booster club president Lana Campbell when she asked them to donate $10 to make up for the revenue lost from candy sales.

It’s time to put away the candy, gift wrap, popcorn and trinkets, and find alternative ways to raise funds. Schools have no business sending students to panhandle in the community. The schools’ job is to educate. “We’ve got to be responsible to raise money other ways - like asking the Legislature for better support,” said Principal Hill. “Kids shouldn’t have to pay for the things they need to get an education.”

Nor should they have to put themselves at risk for the basketball team’s new uniforms. The murder of a New Jersey sixth-grader this fall has caused schools nationwide to re-examine traditional fund raising. Eddie Werner, 11, was sexually molested and then strangled by a potential customer a half mile from his home. He was trying to sell enough candy and wrapping paper to buy a walkie talkie set. A monstrous crime like that can happen anywhere.

If extra dollars are needed for field trips and such, schools should stage a bazaar or bingo night to cover costs. Or, they should ask parents to donate. After a candy sales drive, parents usually end up buying lots of unsold candy, anyway. And roughly half the proceeds go to candy distributors, not the kids.

In Seattle, The Option Program allows parents to buy their way out of fund-raising during a “No Bake Sale.” In exchange for a taxdeductible contribution, the school promises not to bother parents to donate to bake sales or the annual auction. Parents are too busy trying to make ends meet and society is too dangerous to keep the status quo.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see “You see, it’s not just about money”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides

For opposing view, see “You see, it’s not just about money”

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, EDITORIAL - From both sides

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