To watch an old Disney movie

How not to run a school event:

One hundred public school students were left upset and crying during school hours as they were ushered into a dark auditorium to watch an old Disney movie as 900 classmates enjoyed popcorn, ice cream, and bouncy castles at a Carnival outside. New York Public School 120 in Queens held their annual Carnival on Friday. However, instead of all of the pre-k through fifth grade students enjoying the fun-filled day, 100 children were left crying in an auditorium after their families were unable to pay for the $10 ticket to the affair.

An auditorium? How luxurious. Couldn’t the school have found a smelly locker-room to put them in?

The New York Post reports that almost all of the 100 children excluded from the event were [children of] Chinese immigrants who are simply struggling to “keep their heads above water.” Teachers charged with monitoring the unfortunate children stuck in the dark auditorium say that some of the children were crying hysterically as they could hear the laughter from the children outside. Some students asked, “are we being punished,” not understanding why the other children were eating candy and enjoying the inflatables while they were stuck inside.

So this is an elementary school run by people who have no idea what children are like and how they feel? People who were placed in medical comas for the duration of their own childhoods?

At least one teacher says she doesn’t feel it was appropriate to have a Carnival on school grounds during school hours if all students were not able to attend. The teacher says that to add insult to injury for the small children unable to pay the $10 fee, the school Principal, Joan Monroe, sent a bag of little stuffed animals to the classroom to pass out to all the students who paid.

Uh oh. I hope Joan Monroe doesn’t have a Twitter account, because if she does, I predict bad things.

Teachers say they were given lists of the students who had paid and who had not, reminding them to take the unpaid students to the auditorium instead of the Carnival. To ensure the rules were followed, Monroe announced that students without a ticket would report to the auditorium over the loudspeakers in the school the morning of the event.

Just not the way to do it. Mean. Don’t be mean to elementary school children.


  1. yazikus says

    Well, how else are they supposed to learn that some people deserve nice things in life and they don’t?

  2. jenniferphillips says

    Huh. I organized several carnivals for my kids’ elementary school. The event was a fundraiser which included carnival/fair-style food and games as well as a silent auction and raffle. But inclusive community building was also a priority. About 40% of the students were on the free/reduced lunch program, so PTA comped each of those kids enough tickets for food and games for a family of four.

    It wasn’t hard. The comped tickets were just part of the overhead. We still made money, and no one had to sit in the goddamn gym and miss out. That’s unbearably sad to me.

  3. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    Maybe this was some new variation on Milgram or Zimbardo, but with teachers as subjects?

  4. chigau (違う) says

    I am a nasty, surly, old broad.
    I really don’t like children.
    I couldn’t do this.
    What is it like to go through life with no empathy whatsoever?

  5. chigau (違う) says

    Does Disney still charge royalties for showing their movies?
    Did the school pay?

  6. Morgan says

    Wow, what the fuck? I saw this among the Duggar headlines and assumed the reason would be something about religious segregation, parents finding some activity objectionable, etc. They just couldn’t pay? To attend their own school’s event? They didn’t have automatic admission? That’s so petty and fucked up.

  7. sigurd jorsalfar says

    They were thinking, “It’s a pay-to-play world. Ayn Rand would be so proud of us.”

  8. iknklast says

    I was never able to pay for school events like that. I understand exactly what they’re feeling (except we didn’t get a Disney movie; we got to spend the time in class reading). I grew up poor in a rich town, and it was apparently our punishment for daring to live in the town my great-grandparents helped build when we didn’t have money.

  9. Holms says

    Some students asked, “are we being punished,” not understanding why the other children were eating candy and enjoying the inflatables while they were stuck inside.

    Actually, yes, a de facto punishment for your family not having much money. Sucks to be poor in the land of the free.

  10. anthrosciguy says

    In our (free to attend) elementary school fairs 55 years ago in Minnesota we had cake walks (the prize cakes were donated), and most popularly, had a jail (a box drawn on the playground) where you paid to have someone put in for 15 minutes or could pay to have a friend sprung early. Raised money for charity. The principal’s primary job during the event was to good-naturedly accept spending the entire evening in jail, serving consecutive sentences. 🙂

    There’s a lot of things better nowadays (congrats, Ireland!) but sometimes… what are these people thinking?

  11. A Masked Avenger says

    …almost all of the 100 children excluded from the event were [children of] Chinese immigrants…

    I find it surprisingly easy to guess what they were thinking.

  12. psanity says

    My first thought was to wonder if the Disney film they showed was “Cinderella”.

    How could this even happen? What kind of principal would allow it? Doesn’t the district have policies about participation in school activities during school time? (Parents usually have to do some paperwork to get their kids excused from a school activity.)

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    psanity @ # 14: My first thought was to wonder if the Disney film they showed was “Cinderella”.

    I guessed Old Yeller, the only tearjerker Disney movie I can think of (tears of boredom or rage don’t count).

  14. Margaret says

    I’m only surprised the carnival was held during school hours. The only such things I have ever heard of were held outside school hours, and of course I couldn’t go if I couldn’t pay, or could only go for as many rides or games as I could pay for. I have always considered grade school teachers to be the most evil people in the world, though carnivals did not have anything to do with that judgement.

  15. maddog1129 says

    @ #17 Margaret
    My memory as well — after school hours and you could only play as long as you could pay.

    P.S. I read on FB that the carnival company would have paid for the excluded kids if they had known about it, and have stepped up to hold a free carnival for the kids who missed out.

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