MVHS students to protest alcohol use at PTA function
A group of Mill Valley High School students plans to protest a Prairie Ridge Elementary School PTA fundraiser Saturday because alcohol will be served.
The PTA auction, which will be located at the Shawnee Civic Centre, is an annual fundraiser for the elementary school. Last year, it brought in about $14,000, said Prairie Ridge PTA co-president Dee Rolig. Because alcohol will be served this year, it will be an adults-only event, she said.
When she heard about the group's plans to protest, Rolig said she was disappointed.
"All of this controversy is taking away from the true meaning of the auction," she said.
When the auction's committee proposed serving alcohol at the event, it was presented as a way to fit its Mardi Gras theme, Rolig said. The PTA board sought advice from De Soto School District administrators and the National PTA.
"They strongly discouraged us, but they couldn't tell us not to do it," Rolig said.
De Soto community relations director Alvie Cater said the school district did not have a position on the fundraiser because it would not be on school property.
"Any event that goes to benefit the school we would hope that our adults would set an example for our children," he said.
The National PTA encouraged the board to take the issue to a general vote, and when they did the members approved the idea 22-5.
A group of students from Mill Valley voiced their concerns at the meeting and said that serving alcohol at a fundraiser for schools was sending the wrong message to students.
The students were members of JagPRIDE, a student-led organization that addresses substance abuse in the community. It's name stands for "Pride in community, school, family and self."
JagPRIDE and other Mill Valley students plan to protest the auction from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday. The auction is from 7 to 11 p.m.
According to a press release, the group hopes to persuade parents not to attend the auction and to raise the awareness of the type of message the PTA is sending to young persons.
JagPRIDE member Liz Stack said the students will have signs and they will distribute information about responsible decision making.
Liz said there is a time and a place for adults to consume alcohol.
"I just don't think it should be affiliated with the school," the 17-year-old senior said. "If they want to go out and have a good time, that is fine. I don't think they should have it with the PTA at all."
Liz has a younger brother who attends Prairie Ridge and her father, Steve Stack, agreed that alcohol shouldn't be at a PTA event.
"It sends a wrong message to the kids," he said.
Rolig said that was not the intention and that the PTA thought it would be nice to have an adult-only event.