Question: School Charity Events

Our PTO is really at odds with the staff on a school charity project. The teachers want to keep on doing the Operation Christmas Child shoebox charity, but quite a few of the parents have voiced concerns and would rather help a local charity. It's become a huge hot button topic. The staff is now trying to boycott the PTO and would rather see our fundraising efforts die. What can the PTO do? Do we have a right to speak out on behalf of the parents or do we have to do it individually? We are from a really poor, distressed area and there are so many local charities in need. I would rather see our school help our community first. The principal actually told me today I am one voice only and I do not have control over what they do. As a parent, I find that very offensive and as a PTO President, I find it disturbing that our staff has so little regard for the PTO and the parents. What can we do?

Asked by Anonymous



Advice from PTO Today

Rose H writes:
Hi there,
Wondering if there is a way to do both? It sounds like the teachers are very wedded to this idea -- perhaps they have been doing it for years and don't want it taken away from them. On the other hand, you raise a really important point -- some within your community could use support. So, could the PTO manage to run a community service project for the community and lend its support to the teacher project? Even a small effort for your local community will make a difference.

Rose C.

Community Advice

mum24kids writes:
I agree with Rose--I would try to find a way to do both. And to a certain degree, I kind of agree with your principal--if this is a project generated by the teachers and they really enjoy doing it (and there's probably some educational value in tracking where the boxes go, as an example), I think it's odd that the PTO parents would try to override it. As for whether you can speak out on behalf of the parents--sure, but be careful how you do it. It's one thing to tell the principal you want to bring something to her attention because a lot of parents have spoken to you about it---that's not really taking a position. But if you are going to take a position and say "the parents believe that...," then that is something I wouldn't do without polling the membership and making sure I had a majority behind it. Sometimes you just have a vocal minority trying to change something, and you shouldn't be their mouthpiece.

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