Indiana middle school ends wristband fundraiser

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A southern Indiana school has ended a fundraiser that allowed students to use their personal electronic devices during lunch, but only if they bought a $10 wristband.

Batchelor Middle School had offered students the yellow wristbands with the Bloomington school's theme "Be the person" for $10 in exchange for the privilege of using their smartphones or tablets. Students without the wristbands couldn't use their devices during the lunch period.

But Monroe County Community School Corp. superintendent Judy DeMuth said the school's principal ended the fundraiser -- which had paid for a field trip to Indianapolis -- after reviewing it with administrative staff.

Parents of the middle school's students received a letter Monday from Principal Eric Gilpin stating that the fundraising effort was ending and all students would be able to use their personal devices during lunch. Students must otherwise keep their phones in their lockers during the school day.

Gilpin's letter said students who purchased the wristbands will have their money refunded and the school will study other ways to raise funds for student activities.

"We will do everything in our power to help foster an inclusive and caring learning environment," Gilpin said in his letter.

School board member Sue Wanzer said the fundraiser "really wasn't appropriate for a fundraiser."

"It's teaching kids that if you had the money and you were willing and able to spend it, you get certain privileges. I just don't want to do that in school," Wanzer told The Herald-Times (http://bit.ly/1kytwdr ).

Funds from the fundraiser were used to support celebrations for student achievement and good behavior, and the money helped cover the cost of a field trip to Indianapolis.

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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