Updated 9/8/2017 here
Glen Rose Elementary is heavily advertising school supplies on the GRISD Elementary School Facebook page. There is an issue right off the bat with this, regarding why, to be fair, GRISD isn't also then, if they're going to be involved in advertising, putting ads for, say, Walmart or Dollar General on their site, or taking bids about which company is the best one to actively promote. (Perhaps this was done or authorized at a previous school board meeting). If Glen Rose Elementary was a private company rather than a public school paid for by tax money, it could decide to get office supplies from anyone it wants, but surely there is some fairness, ethics and neutrality v religion that enters in here.
I was curious about what SchoolToolbox.com actually is and why GRISD Elementary was promoting it, so looked at the GRISD Elementary School Facebook page. Kind of astounding. As of today, June 24 2017, the first post on the page is an advert for SchoolToolbox with a siren (June 22 2017). The second post is an advert showing a black family(June 13 2017) 3rd is an actual post about summertime send off.(gasp, not an ad) 4th post is an ad for schooltoolbox(May 22 2017) Next two posts are great, one for End of Year Award ceremonies, and College T-Shirt day. 7th is an ad for schooltoolbox.com (May 16). 8th is an ad for schooltoolbox.com(also May 16) 9th is an ad for schooltoolbox.com (May 12) Next post is about Tiger and Lady Tiger Summer Camps. 11th post is an ad for schooltoolbox.com (May 11) 12 is a post about collecting box tops. 13th post is an ad for schooltoolbox.com(May 9, 2017) Next 3 posts are for Field Day and Congrats. 17th post is an ad for schooltoolbox.com (May 4, 2017). So, out of 17 posts on the GRISD Elementary school Facebook page through May 4 2017, 10 are ads. (Schooltoolbox apparently provides all the ads
Why would GRISD, or any school for that matter, be so invested in pushing a company? Basically, looks like there's a *sponsor* at a given school who acts to push this. Do the sponsors get some kind of spiff for doing this? Does the school or some other related entity get any type of money for using this? Can'f tell from the website. If it's so that there is an official *sponsor* for this company at GRISD somewhere, who is that person? What teachers can do is either use it in conjunction with a school fundraiser (which tells me they get some money for pushing this) or put in a "Teacher's Wish" list where anytime the school supplies are ordered, up pops a wish list that the parents/children see (can't avoid) and can order to provide stuff for the school. At any rate, for a public school funded by public tax dollars to blatantly push, even though they say it's *optional*, a particular company on an official social media page is pretty irresponsible. Imagine also the parents who don't fall in line and decide to purchase school supplies locally, say, at Dollar General, or even going to Granbury to get them; won't there be a certain amount of social pressure, not simply from other kids or possibly parents but from the very school that heavily advertises ONE place to go!
What does anyone even know about this company? If you try to look up the webpage through WHO IS, you find it is private. From Buzzfile. School Tool Box was incorporated in Colorado but their address is 228 W Page St, Sycamore, IL. Doug Stice is the Managing Member
And why is GRISD participating in pushing a company that itself not only has a religious mission, but, as part of the sale, contributes to yet another religious company. When looking at the schooltoolbox.com website, I noticed that, first, they have a religious mission.
At SchoolToolBox, our mission is to partner with schools and parents to provide cost effective solutions for equipping children to learn and to glorify God in our partnerships, practices and performance.... Being responsible citizens of both the local and national community, displaying Christ like character in the stewardship of our resources and talents.
Second, they are also involved in sending money to a christian non-profit called Feed My Starving Children I also found reference to Feed My Starving Children under MedicalMissions.com "Our Mission: Feeding God's Starving Children Hungry in Body and Spirit." They have a Christian mission.
Our Christian mission
FMSC is a Christian non-profit organization. We believe Jesus Christ has called us to feed the hungry and serve those in need. We strive to follow his calling every day in all that we do.
It's about Jesus
At the very core of FMSC as an organization, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the reason FMSC exists.
In 2003, sixteen years after FMSC was founded (1987), the organization was rededicated to the Lord. We placed our focus back on Jesus Christ, committing to honor Him. He has called us to feed his kids, and with his help we will keep reaching farther around the world until ALL are fed.
Now, is there something objectionable about a philanthropical religious company or organization? Nope. but adults can decide where they would like to spend their money when it's a private entity; public schools are not. When I was a Southern Baptist, my family regularly contributed to the Lottie Moon mission fund. It was part of the separation of church and state in that we could optionally spend our money for the religious purpose we wanted. Particularly because Baptists believe in separation of church and state, we would never have expected that the population at large should support that. But why should taxpayers who represent any or none religious affiliations support this or stand for it being advertised for on an official GRISD website?
Flip this around.Suppose the websites of School Tool Box and Feed My Starving Children promoted Islam and sending care packages to poor christian children in America in order to convert them. That would be okay?
So what is the school doing? By pushing this in particularly on young children who would not have the wherewithall to thoughtfully consider options and insinuating to parents that this is the *approved* public school-sanctioned way to buy school supplies, taxpayer in general are supporting a particular religion.
GRISD needs to STOP this right away.
UPDATE: I sent an email to Debbie Morris, who is principal at Glen Rose Elementary, ccing Wayne Rotan. Have not received a reply as of June 25, 2017
From: D** H********[mailto:d****@**********]
Sent: Saturday, June 24, 2017 7:48 PM
Subject: Glen Rose ISD Elementary pushing a religious-oriented organization on Facebook page
The Facebook page for GRISD Elementary has a number of advertisements pushing an option for buying school supplies through School Toolbox. By having these ads repeatedly on the page, it appears that GRISD is subtly endorsing this method rather than offering it as another way for students and parents to purchase school supplies. Out of the first 17 posts on this page, 10 are ads that are taken directly from the company School Toolbox.
There are, besides the overt advertising, two religious issues with this. One is that School Toolbox com presents itself as a Christian company, says it is its mission, and second, sends money to an affiliated Christian non-profit called Feed My Starving Children, which has a Christian mission.
Were this simply presented by a private organization that wasn’t taking tax dollars, that would be one thing. I have been told that this initiative possibly came from PTO rather than the employees at GRISD. But for GRISD to push this on the Facebook page that shows, in About, your email, the phone number to the school, and the grisd campus link is, I believe, not only wrong, but steps over the line with regard to religion and neutrality.
I wrote about this here http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?view=plink&id=16887
I appreciate a reply
Note that nowhere in these advertisements on GRISD's Elementary school Facebook page is this presented as optional, nor are any alternatives presented, such as buying school supplies from Amazon, WalMart, Dollar General, etc. Completely one-sided.
and more of Feed My Starving Children mission
Note in the one above that the volunteers pray over the food they've packed.
From Schooltoolbox's FB pg