South Dakota Teacher Cash Grab Stunt Raises Eyebrows – Watch The Video
Organizers of what was designed to be a charitable publicity stunt in South Dakota are feeling the brunt of public opinion as observers call out the "optics" of what went on. Critics are also slamming the original intent as "dystopian".
It was billed as the Sioux Falls Stampede's "Dash For Cash" Promotion. During a break in the action of the hockey game on December 11, the hockey team - in conjunction with a local mortgage company - invited ten local teachers to scramble for $5,000 worth of dollar bills layed out on a carpet in center ice - with the idea that the teachers could take what they grabbed in the five minutes allotted and use it for expenses in that participating teachers classroom.
While the crowd cheered, the teachers grabbed as much of the money as they could. Video from the night shows the chaos that went on:
The participating teachers have expressed happiness that they were given the chance to obtain funds for their classrooms and students. One teacher shared that "I think it's really cool when the community offers an opportunity like this for things that educations (sic) a lot of times pay for out of pocket". Another offered that "I've been throwing my name in the hat everywhere I can find so that way I can get opportunities to get money for the kids".
Observers and critics haven't been as positive in their feelings about the event. The social media world erupted after news reports about the event started being shared. Many called the event "dystopian" or called out the improper "optics" of what went on - having teachers scramble for dollar bills to use to fund the education of children in the community.
Since the event, both the hockey team and the sponsor - CU Mortgage Direct - have issued apologies. A joint statement read in part:
"Although our intent was to provide a positive and fun experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole."
In addition to issuing the appology, both the team and the morgtage company pledged an additional $15,500 to be donated to teachers in the community.
A news source reported that at the event, each teacher "grabbed between $378 and $616" in dollar bills.