PS 120 in Flushing, Queens banned all students who couldn't pay a $10 fee from attending the school carnival.


Warning: this is sad. A public elementary school in New York City is in trouble for holding a school carnival that cruelly excluded the poorest students. Last Thursday, almost 900 kids between preschool and fifth grade attended the event, riding the rides, eating snacks, and dancing to music. Meanwhile, more than 100 kids were forced to sit in a dark auditorium and watch a movie, all within earshot of their friends having fun outside. The reason: their parents hadn't paid the $10 ticket price.

Teachers told the New York Post that most of the students who didn't pay are the children of poor Chinese immigrants whose parents may not have understood the flier explaining the carnival, or simply couldn't spare the $10. Many of the children didn't understand what was going on either, until they were separated from their friends and sequestered inside. One teacher found herself hugging a 7-year-old girl who was hysterically weeping. She told the post, “She was the only one from her class who couldn't go, so she was very upset." Another child asked an aide: "Are we being punished?"

There's a good argument to be made that they were being punished for their families' circumstances. The person who dealt that punishment was principal Joan Monroe. She instituted the $10 admission policy and refused to compromise despite teachers' objections, saying it wouldn't be fair to the parents who had paid.

Sources: The New York Post