Local Charity

There doesn’t seem to be such a concept at PS 120 in Flushing, NY. The grade school held a carnival for its kindergarten through fifth grade classes, around 900 of its students were allowed to go—and an additional 100 were kept cooped up in the school’s auditorium, instead, with the shouts of fun from the carnival just outside plainly audible to them.

The price of attendance was $10, and those 100 were poor students whose parents couldn’t afford the $10; not having paid, those kids were barred from the carnival. Contributing to the thing is the fact that many of those parents are Chinese immigrants who, perhaps, missed the fact that a fee was charged. Let’s discount that, though; there did seem to be adequate notice of the fee.

The rationale for singling out some kids and denying them their fun at the carnival? Principle Joan Monroe, according to Frank Chow, president of the parents association, said,

It’s not fair to the kids’ parents who paid.

The purpose of the fund-raising carnival? Pre-K, kindergarten, and fifth-grade moving-up parties—it’s all for partying. The carnival made two-three thousand dollars in profit, which will make for some pretty rich grade school parties. The money isn’t even going toward school supplies, school equipment, or its physical plant, apparently. Just partying, with no lasting results.

Not fair to the ones who paid? Will the kids whose parents didn’t contribute to the graduation party money be barred from those graduation parties, too?

Never mind that $1,000 of those profits would have covered the kids whose parents didn’t, regardless of the reason, pay.

Fairness depends on how the payments and the purpose of the monies were advertised. And it would have been an interesting experiment: how much money would have been collected with a different purpose presented? Could all the kids have attended on the funds raised?

This is the sort of thing local charity is about.

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