Concerns raised about a Go Fund Me site during a recent Pasco County School Board meeting prompted Superintendent Kurt Browning to voice concerns over how appeals for help are posted by teachers on social media sites.
The issue came up when Amy Bracewell, a parent who lives in Northwood, told school board members that a posting on a Go Fund Me site was seeking funds to purchase materials for students at Denham Oaks Elementary.
The posting said that 42 percent of the students in the school’s first-grade have reading deficiencies and need additional materials.
Bracewell lives in Northwood, a community in Wesley Chapel, which has been reassigned to attend Denham Oaks Elementary, in Lutz, next school year.
She and other parents objected to their children being moved from their Wesley Chapel community to attend a school in Lutz, with a lower academic rating.
“Considering that I have a kindergartner starting in the fall, I find it extremely disturbing to find a Go Fund Me page set up for the first-graders of Denham Oaks Elementary School,” she told board members.
Browning said he became aware of the Go Fund Me site the evening before the Dec. 15 school board meeting.
The superintendent said the post “was somewhat troubling to me, because it made it sound that we, as a district, were not providing the level of materials to those schools. That is just not the case.
“We provide the materials at every one of our schools that support our students in learning to read and learning to read on grade level,” Browning said.
“They wanted additional materials and were asking for contributions to pay for those additional materials,” he said.
He also asked teachers and other staff members to be careful when they are making social media appeals to be sure they accurately convey the nature of the request.
“The whole Go Fund Me pages and the Donor Choose pages, in my opinion, are incredibly problematic for this district,” he said. “They’re problematic as a whole.”
Sometimes requests are made for materials that are not compatible with district needs, he said. For instance, “iPad minis will not support many of the things that we do in classrooms,” he said.
Browning also noted, it’s impossible for the district to monitor all of the requests that are posted on social media.
With 87 schools in the district, he said, “We just don’t have the resources to do that.”
So, he urged caution in the postings, noting the message they send doesn’t just affect one school, but reflects on the entire district.
Published December 30, 2015