Dear Middle School,
As I write this, my daughter is playing volleyball for the middle school team. It’s her first year. It’s the first year for many of the girls on the team.
We follow the coach’s guidelines that parents may not attend practice. We take her to practice Sunday nights when asked.
There are three home games this week. As her parents, we want to be there. We have never missed an activity our children have participated in, and we have had children in school for the past 21 years.
But tickets are $5 per person, per game. For a family of four to attend, that’s $20 per game, or $60 this week. That’s roughly 40% of my family of four’s weekly food budget.
How can $5 per person, per game be justified?
We live in the poorest city in the state of Virginia.
We have a 9.3% unemployment rate.
The average income per capita is $20,132. At 2,080 hours per year (40-hour work week), the average citizen of Martinsville is making $9.68 per hour before taxes.
Our city schools have begun participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program for breakfasts and lunches because our students are predominantly from low-income families.
I attend PTA meetings where the takeaway is “parent involvement.”
We support our school, our teachers, and our community.
Perhaps it’s time you look at the community that surrounds you.
Perhaps it is time for you to consider the reason parents are not involved.
If we can’t afford the cost of admission, we can’t fill the bleachers to support our teams.
Our children are the future of our community. We need to find a better way so that we can be positive examples and support them in the avenues they pursue to help them live rewarding and healthy lives.
A Parent Who Isn’t in the Bleachers Cheering for the Home Team