The sign outside Tasty Dog said simply, "Fundraiser Today" [Tasty Dog repeat for Whittier, Inside Report, April 13]. What it did not say was that District 97 was advertising a contest between the following elementary schools: Hatch, Longfellow, Mann, Whittier, Irving and Beye.
The contest involved the above schools' teachers and principals targeting their student population and encouraging them to get their parents to take them to Tasty Dog on a designated night. Tasty Dog then gave 15 percent of its profits that night back to the school. There are additional prizes as well.
On one teacher's site: "Don't cook dinner on this Thursday, April 7! Instead go to Tasty Dog for Longfellow's Tasty Dog Challenge Day! Let's Go Longfellow!" A similar message was heard by one of us over the loudspeaker and given by a principal to the children in class. We are writing to ask you to stop our schools from advertising for Tasty Dog.
While we have no qualms with Tasty Dog's promotion, or in Tasty Dog giving money to the school, we strongly object to the school and its employees promoting a commercial enterprise to our children in the classroom and using school resources to promote it to their parents. It is, in effect, bartering access to our children for marketing by the people our children look up to — their teachers and principal.
We have come to learn that this promotion was initiated by a devoted and creative PTO parent and are sure that she had absolutely no intent for anything but good. And some of it is good — the PTOs will receive some money and people who went had fun seeing their friends. However, the result of the promotion remains the same — we are advertising. The importance of the school's involvement is clear when one notes that Holmes will not be receiving money from the promotion. It is the one school that declined to "participate."
We wonder, where will the district draw the line? Will all the businesses in Oak Park have this valuable access by such valuable messengers?
We love a good hot dog as much as the next Oak Parker and are grateful to businesses that want to support our schools. But let them advertise their promotion on their own — like everyone else.
Donna Peel, Maraya Steadman, Erin Elmiger, Suzanne Ritzler, Cris Rivas, Sheila and Eddie Pont, Sarah and Allen Arnett
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