Administrators at a Los Alamitos, California school have rescinded their offer for a “homework buyout” which would have allowed parents to pay for their child to take a week off from homework.
The California school sent home fliers about the program, telling parents that if they paid $100 their child would not have to do any homework for a week. Project Leap is running the fundraiser to generate money that will be put into the classroom — but the experiment may have failed. One mother was angered by the fliers, saying the program was an attempt to “bribe” her child.
“I feel bad for my son because he was like, ‘Mom, can we do it?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to let a teacher or a school bribe my kid and teach him the wrong thing. It’s not morally correct to say, hey give $100 and you don’t have to do your work,” said one parent.
A phone call from ABC7 to the Los Alamitos Unified School District saw officials claiming they had never heard about the program, but because they received the phone call and found out about it, they would take action to halt the homework bribe.
“We love our fundraising groups and have amazingly supportive parents but we absolutely cannot raise money by having parents pay for having no homework for their specific student,” said Sherry Kropp, the superintendent of the Los Alamitos Unified School District, in a statement.
Robert Briggerman, the Principal of Richard Lee Henry Elementary School, agreed, saying the fundraiser sends the wrong message to students by putting a monetary value on homework. He went on to say that any parents who have already participated in the program will receive a refund, “or an alternative non-academic incentive.”
People everywhere seem to agree with the outraged parents. Nadine Kalinauskas of Yahoo! Canada covered the story, and commenters quickly weighed in:
“This is totally the wrong message for the school and its teachers to be sending!! What a corrupt message it sends. Doesn’t surprise me though.”
But not everyone considered the fundraiser to be an inappropriate bribe. Instead, said commenter Hammelmark, it’s just a bad fundraiser:
“While I doubt I would participate in such a fundraiser, I don’t see how this can be considered “bribery”. The teachers aren’t pocketing the money. The real negative message being sent is that whenever you give a gift or make a donation you should get something in return.”
Fox News reports that district Superintendent Sherry Kropp said parents who donated can choose to have their money refunded or let the benevolent group keep it, but that their kids will have to do their homework either way.