Is selling raffle tickets to kids inappropriate?

Vicky - posted on 05/06/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )

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Advice please: My son (who is in Yr 1 - he just turned 7) took $5 to school today to buy something from the Mother's Day stall. He gets to pick out a gift, and the school gets to fundraise. Win-Win. But instead he bought 5 raffle tickets for $1 each. I realise that he did so thinking he could get something I would like more than what else was on offer, and I'm not kvetching at not getting a gift (I know he was thinking of me) but I think taking $5 from a 7yo kid - *all* his money - when he has no understanding of how raffles work and that its effectively just donating the money to the school (the odds of winning are miniscule) is inappropriate. He was under supervision when the purchase was made, and I think his teacher and/or the stall holder and/or raffle ticket seller should have given him better guidance about how to spend his money wisely. All he can give me now is 5 worthless pieces of paper (the tickets) and I know he'll feel terrible about that when it happens. I want him to get his money back (if the school wants a $5 donation in lieu, I don't mind, its just the principle here - it is, after all, a religious school). What do you think?

5 Comments

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Iona - posted on 05/12/2011

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I believe it depends on the child's age. I believe they should know the concept and value of money. I also be only children that are old enough to work. ( I mean legally age 16 and up) it is ok for. HOwever, I also depends on what they are raffling for such as music cds, or movies, things like that. Nothing extravagant, yet something that they will appreciate and take care of . Hey but that is just one mom's opinion.

Angela - posted on 05/12/2011

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I agree with Catherine that this is just a tough lesson he'll have to learn. Explain to him about raffles and how it's a game of chance and the chances aren't especially good. Thank him for thinking of you though!

Privately, without telling your child, I would write to the school. Tell them what happened and why you're not pleased. Explain that you do NOT want the money back as you respect it's for a good cause but that you recommend they are a little more selective and careful when selling raffle tickets to very young children at fundraisers. And yes, it's gambling. I would be very sad if my own child had an experience like this. Fund raising schools and other organisations can be a little zealous I feel.

Vicky - posted on 05/10/2011

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You are correct, Catherine, I didn't know there was going to be a raffle. Yes, it has been a painful lesson for him.

Catherine - posted on 05/10/2011

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Hi Vicky. I appreciate that you are very annoyed about this I think you need to sit down with your son and explain what a raffle is.

He was entrusted to take $5 to school and spend it. He did this but you don't like what he spent his money on. You also want to protect him from the consequences of his actions (him feeling guilty for not getting you a proper gift) but how is this preparing him for the real world?

If my DD spent her money on raffle tickets I would not want her to get the money back and I would take the opportunity to help reinforce a costly lesson about handing money over for goods.

As a parent you have to take some responsibility for your kids actions and cannot expect the school to ensure he spends his money on a gift.

That said, perhpas you were not aware that raffle tickets would be available and could not advise your son appropriately and the school should address this.

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Vicky, I agree with you and SOMEONE should have assisted your son in his purchase. You have a right to voice a concern to the school. I'd pretty much copy & paste what you wrote here and send an email off to the school teacher, principal, and whoever else was in charge of the Mother's Day stall. If the school does not know that there was a concern or problem, they will keep repeating the same practice. Please update us when yo ucontact the school with their response.

Kristin - posted on 05/06/2011

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Where I live there is very strict laws on gambling. Even schools have oodles of paperwork to fill to even think about hosting any sort of lottery. Then no one under 19 is allowed to gamble. If he thought that his 5$ would win something for sure he doesn't understand the raffle like you said. I do think you have a right to be alarmed and think that you as a parent should have been made aware that the raffle was happening too. As his parent you technically did not give him permission to gamble. Fundraisers are not to steal from people they are to help people.

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