PTA's money-grubbing has finally gone too farMy son is a...

Letters

December 21, 1997

PTA's money-grubbing has finally gone too far

My son is a student at Quarterfield Elementary. Recently, he came home with a flier in his book bag -- another money-making scheme by the PTA. (They've become familiar by now.)

Normally, we parents tolerate the urchin-like money-grubbing of the PTA in hopes that, haphazardly, something good might come of it. But they crossed the line between poor judgment and poor taste when they exploited the innocence of my child for their gain.

Several days ago, it was explained that Quarterfield Elementary School's PTA had organized a "holiday gift shop." Each class would be ushered through this gift shop for "window shopping." This was to take place during class hours. No one was given an opportunity to object or abstain.

This was pretty much a mandate; each class, a captive audience. And then suddenly, what they'd deemed "window shopping" took on the shady characteristics of the old "bait and switch." The children were shown tables of tempting knick-knacks and drivel and told that "you can buy whatever you want as long as you bring in the money tomorrow."

All of this is taking place conveniently out of reach of any parental guidance or supervision.

Now, there are many issues here:

Why is such blatant commerce being allowed during my child's valuable learning time? Why is my child being forced to shop when, at age 5, he has no understanding of the concept? And, are any of these elementary age children, far too young to understand how easily they can be deceived, mature enough for such profound responsibility to be thrust upon them?

Does anyone see the danger?

My kindergartner came home to me with a list of things that he "purchased." (Gifts for everyone he could think of because he is such a generous boy.) All I have to do is "give him the money," sight unseen.

Are we teaching our children to be victims?

And what about the parents who can't afford to play along? Or those attempting to teach their children the real significance of the holiday? What kind of organization would use such underhanded and predatory tactics as to take advantage of our children's naivete?

For anyone to perpetrate such exploitation under the guise of "the spirit of giving" is abominably cruel. They empowered my child with a false sense of piety and left me to either give in to this emotional blackmail or play the villain and crush my child's self-esteem.

How dare they. The PTA is supposed to be an association for the enrichment of children's educational lives. Are these sorts of distractions enriching in the least? On the contrary, they are detrimental.

This is not the first time the Quarterfield PTA has used such tactics. This is only the most recent and most insidious. As a concerned parent, I have had enough.

I understand that the PTA needs to raise money. Fine. If it wants to open little shops before or after school so parents and children can make these decisions together, great. It can have a bake sale, a spaghetti supper, a pledge drive. There are many more honest ways to raise money, not on learning time and not by using my child.

Eileen D. Sterbach

Glen Burnie

It's about traffic, parking, not the CBF

The inaccuracy of your editorial about Eastport and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is simply unbelievable ("Chesapeake Bay Foundation's move," Dec. 5). Do your editorial writers make any attempt whatsoever to understand more than one side of an issue before they render an opinion?

We have told the press maybe a thousand times now that this issue is about the traffic and parking associated with a 35,000-square foot office building.

It has nothing to do with the CBF.

We have conceded from day one that the CBF qualifies as a maritime business under our current maritime zoning laws. Our issue still is and has always been that 222 Severn Ave. does not have anywhere near enough parking to accommodate a 35,000-square foot office building, and that such a building and the traffic associated with it is inconsistent with the "downzoning goals" of Eastport's maritime zoning regulations.

The ECA has made every effort to be fair and accurate.

Your editorial, on the other hand, demonstrates a complete lack of due diligence. At the top of your paper, it says "Light for All," so why are your editors so completely in the dark?

Robert McWilliams

Annapolis

The writer is a member of the Eastport Civic Association.

Pub Date: 12/21/97

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