Janesville52.2°

Kids and fundraisers: What are the limits?

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
November 23, 2009
— Kids are asked to sell stuff for school fundraisers all the time.

But what if a child doesn’t want to?


What if a parent is philosophically opposed to it?


Those are questions the Janesville School Board will take up when it meets Tuesday.


The question arose at the board’s last meeting, when board President DuWayne Severson told of an incident he heard had occurred in a Marshall Middle School classroom.


Severson said later that he was told students were given quotas in a subscription sales drive, and that a child or children were singled out in front of their peers for not selling, or not selling enough.


Severson seemed upset about what he heard and insisted that the board receive a report on the incident in two weeks.


“Children are here to learn, to be educated, but they’re not here to be sales agents for any school district or any other group we work with to sell their particular product or service,” Severson said.


“Those types of measures, maybe, are appropriate for an adult in a sales role,” Severson added. “They are not appropriate for a child.”


Severson said he doesn’t want to discourage fundraising that supports the schools, and he commended the parent groups and others that do so.


Steve Sperry, director of administrative and human services, looked into the matter and will present a report to the board Tuesday, Severson said.


Also, representatives of the elementary, middle and high schools will make presentations on fundraising at those levels, Severson said.


“The piece we were asking them to look at is the child, the family, that feels uncomfortable participating; do we provide them adequate opportunity not to participate without feeling like they’re different from everybody else?” Severson said. “In other words, opting out with some dignity rather than being identified.”


Severson said the outcome might be that the board modifies policies to address this issue.


The district has policies and regulations governing student fundraising.


One policy cites state law, saying that children under age 12 may participate only with a parent’s written permission.


A district regulation requires that “all student participation in fundraising shall be voluntary.”


ON THE AGENDA

The Janesville School Board meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the small auditorium at Craig High School, 401 S. Randall Ave. The meeting will not be televised live.


Also on Tuesday’s agenda:


-- Discussion and possible approval of a recycling program for Craig High School, as requested by two Craig students, and possibly for the entire district.


-- A presentation on the district’s annual financial audit.


-- At 5 p.m., before the regular meeting, the board will meet with Craig students who will quiz them about the board’s business. Some Parker High School students will get the same opportunity when the board meets at Parker on Dec. 8.



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