This article originally appeared on Mamamia and has been republished with permission.
"Dear Parents, next week is our annual disco, please pay upfront $5 per family member attending." *And then once there, buy the drinks you need to consume in order to survive the night for an exorbitant price.
"Dear Parents, please bring $5 per student for materials to make a mother’s day gift."
Repeat for Father’s Day.
"Dear Parents, please pay $70 per child in voluntary contribution fees."
"Dear Parents, this year we have decided to outsource the teaching of some *lame-ass dance moves for our annual Christmas concert to a third party, and please pay $28 immediately."
"Dear Parents, please don’t forget that tomorrow is free dress day, so please bring a gold coin donation."
"Dear Parents, as a fundraiser for our P&C, please buy a tray of mangoes for $20 and *bully your friends, family, and neighbors into doing the same."
"Dear Parents, next week is our annual Art Show. The cost of this event is $5 per person. Each child has a piece of work that is available to purchase for $20. You do not have to attend the Art Show to purchase your child’s work. *You do not have to purchase your child’s work, but you’d be a fucking monster not to."
*Some of these demands are paraphrased.
You can see where I’m going with this. This is a public school, and every bloody week, there is at least one of these coming home.
And before I go on, I know that our public schools are underfunded, and I know they need to get money somehow, but it’s getting ridiculous.
At the moment, we are lucky enough that we can pay these fees. We can pay $20 for a picture our own child drew even though we get 20 of the same drawings every day for free. But not every public school family can. So many families are struggling to give their children the basics, to send them to school with breakfast in their tummies and lunch in their bags, without worrying about how they’re going to send their kid to the disco all their friends are going to, or how they’ll buy milk after sacrificing their last fiver for a Mother’s Day gift.
Some parents are working six or seven days a week in two or three jobs in order to keep their children housed, clothed, and fed, and simply don’t have time or energy left over to give half their weekend to the quarterly working bee, or their Tuesday evening to the P&C.
It’s easy to say “just don’t pay it”, or “just don’t volunteer for the P&C / working bee / serving drinks and food at the disco / sizzling sausages on election day, but the pressure is enormous. Not only are the demands coming home crumpled and smeared with vegemite in the bottom of your child’s school bag, but they get to us via social media too.
They range from “friendly” reminders on Facebook that some families haven’t yet paid the latest ransom, to the gentle suggestion at information evenings that children have better outcomes when their parents are heavily involved with their school.
If I wanted to pay through the teeth for a primary school education, I’d send them to a private school. If I wanted guilt, I’d send them to a Catholic school.
The odd fundraiser or volunteer request is fine, but when they’re coming on a weekly basis, it’s just too much.
"Dear Public School, please stop."
More from Mamamia: