By Miriam Raftery
Updated April 24, 2015 with response from Alpine Education Association and details on the fundraising event.
April 22, 2015 (Alpine) – Some Alpine parents were surprised to learn that children in the fifth grade at Alpine Elementary School were assigned to paint wine glasses and beer steins for an upcoming fundraising event organized by the Alpine Education Foundation.
Kristen Gauss, a parent, sent a letter to the Alpine Union School District Superintendent Bruce Cochrane objecting to the activity. First, she suggested it created an appearance of impropriety given that the foundation provides money to the district. Second, she noted that some parents may object to having children paint alcohol-related items for an event with a flyer that touted “Never Empty Wine Glasses” and “Bottomless Beer Steins” “hand-painted by Alpine Elementary Students.
“While I support fundraising events, I personally find this exploitation of our students without parental advice and consent despicable,” Gauss wrote.
Superintendent Cochrane responded that the activity was not permissible. He stated that a parent volunteer went directly to an art docent without permission to have students in two classes decorate the glasses.
The Superintendent wrote, “If the parent would have asked for permission it would have been denied as this is a violation of our board policies.. I understand an artist looking at different mediums for art however, in this case the use of a glass that is associated with drinking alcohol is not acceptable.”
He added that he would speak to the Alpine Education Foundation and school principals regarding work with art docents or other volunteers to assure that procedures would be followed in the future.
But that’s not enough to satisfy Dawn August, another parent, who objects to the glasses being sold at the Alpine Education Foundation’s upcoming fundraiser, as Channel 7 news reported is still planned.
She states, “The whole point of the Art Docent program is to educate the children on different artists and styles of painting, not to sell their work. I do not believe that this has ever been done before and do not feel that it should be done now especially when it comes to alcoholic containers that the children painted on at school in their classroom.”
Alpine Education Association president emeritus Colin Campbell told ECM he is "sensitive" to the concerns and that a parent can withdraw their chlid's art from the fundraiser on request.
The glassware is set for sale at the Mardi/Tardy Ball Fundraiser on May 2 with proceeds benefitting Alpine schools. For event details, click here.