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Dad believes fundraiser at San Diego middle school could unfairly exclude students

Posted at 6:51 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 10:07:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Roosevelt Middle School students are participating in a fundraiser Wednesday that will let them have fun and get messy.

The Color Battle event involves students throwing colored powder at each other for a good cause. The Friends of Roosevelt Foundation organized the fundraiser, raising money for the international baccalaureate program and funds will go towards technology projects, field trips and school supplies.

Carl Yee, a dad to two Roosevelt students, said he was excited when he heard about the event. However, after taking a closer look at the flyer given to students, he noticed they must raise at least $30 to participate in the Color Battle.

While it may not seem like a lot of money to some, Yee immediately thought of lower-income students and the policies in place to protect them.

San Diego Unified School District's fundraising policy says students who do not raise funds may not be denied participation in an educational activity.

"We can't make the whole world fair, but we decided as a culture we're going to make public schools as fair as possible," said Yee.

However, the school says because a foundation organized the event, it does not have to go by all the same district policies.

While the issue isn't specifically lined out in the policy, a San Diego Unified spokeswoman said they can't control third parties like parent-teacher organizations, booster clubs and foundations.

Yee said he's frustrated with the school's response. He told 10News there's a large population of students on free and reduced lunches who might have had trouble raising the money.

"We have an obligation to stand up for all our students and make things as fair as possible," said Yee. "I think this really is real, even if we only had a small percentage of students who couldn't afford it. I think it's equally important for every student to be on equal footing in a public school."

Yee said some students are also frustrated because one of the fundraising challenges requires a smartphone and not everyone has one.

"I think those of us who care about the school not only need to contribute to the bake sales, but we also need to bring up more important issues," said Yee.

Yee has filed a formal complaint with the district but knows that whatever happens, it won't be in time for the fundraising event.