Selling ‘Premium Seats’ To High School Graduation Is Ridiculously Classist

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selling-graduation-seatsA high school in Florida is selling “premium seats” for its graduation ceremony this year. The seats are in the end zone of the football field and cost about $200 per bench that will hold up to 15 people. All other stadium seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. I understand the school needs to make some extra money to fund the ceremony, but this is a horrible way to do it.

Seniors have to pay a $20 additional graduation fee for the first time this year, but it can be waived for those families who can’t afford it. We all know there are other expenses around the day as well – the cap and gown, the celebratory dinner, etc. Graduation is expensive. But I guess that isn’t really the point, here. The point is, there will be a VIP section at the ceremony. That’s gross.

The school thought of the idea to offset some of the $12,000 in expenses the ceremony creates. The seats will bring in an additional $2,000 the school badly needs. I get it. It just seems something else could have been done; selling ads to local businesses, doing a fundraising drive – high school is all about fundraising drives, isn’t it? From ABC:

Mark Domer’s kids also graduated from the school, and he said the costs adversely affect families with lower incomes.
“It’s being discriminatory,” Domer said. “It’s just not fair.”
Having a seating section that some parents can afford and some parents can’t just feels icky to me. I grew up in a very wealthy suburb of San Jose, California. When we moved there in 1978, it was an affordable suburb surrounded by farmland. Then Silicon Valley basically popped up all around us. Vacant farmland turned into mansions, and I grew up surrounded by ridiculous wealth. My mom, a waitress, did a fantastic job of never letting me feel like I was missing out on anything. Not by spoiling me, but by working her ass off and showing me we were just as happy as everyone else, even if we didn’t have the same stuff. It would hurt my heart to think of her looking down at a prime area she couldn’t afford on one of the proudest days of her life. I don’t like it.
Do better next year, Manatee High.