Crayons, scissors, garbage bags . . .

Schools are asking parents to supply a lot more than crayons, scissors and glue sticks, reports the New York Times.

When Emily Cooper headed off to first grade in Moody, Ala., last week, she was prepared with all the stuff on her elementary school’s must-bring list: two double rolls of paper towels, three packages of Clorox wipes, three boxes of baby wipes, two boxes of garbage bags, liquid soap, Kleenex and Ziplocs.

This has been a trend for several years, but it’s worse this year, reports the Times.

OfficeMax is featuring items like Clorox wipes in its school displays and is running two-for-one specials on cleaners like gum remover and disinfectant spray. Office Depot has added paper towels and hand sanitizer to its back-to-school aisles. Staples’ school fliers show reams of copy paper on sale, while Walgreens’ fliers are running back-to-school discounts on Kleenex.

At Pauoa Elementary School in Honolulu, students are asked to bring a four-pack of toilet paper.

If parents don’t bring supplies, teachers often buy them out of their own salaries, a superintendent admits.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    I expect the supers’ salaries could spot the kids a bit of TP. And maybe the board’s travel budget.

  2. I saw this in Illinois: parents buying sanitizing wipes, tissues, and toilet paper as part of the kids’ school supplies.

    As a childless taxpayer, it seems wrong to me that families are having to provide the toilet paper for the schools.

  3. This is just a back-door tax that only targets parents and not the general population. It’s shameful, but instructive. It lets everyone know that the school district is all about the dollars, not so much about education.

  4. GAMathTeacher says:

    This year, I was surprised to see one 10th grader show up with a box of tissues and hand sanitizer for me. Surprised because it was unexpected but I was happy to receive it since he was the only one about of 111 students.

    GA didn’t have a tax free weekend this year. I bought 200+ Cadoozle mechanical pencils, 200+ eraser caps, 200+ 0.7 refill lead, 8 tissue boxes, 8 hand sanitizers, 2 bags of Halls, 3 2-pack Glade Oils, and 2 boxes of individual hand sanitizer wipes. Doing my part to keep my students healthy so they can pass my class and be on task as well. Yes, I’m claiming all those and more on my income tax deductibles.

    Great to have parents provide during elementary and middle school. Would be nice to have some help for high school as well. PTSA provides 1 box of tissue and 1 small hand sanitizer bottle as well as band-aids and wipes.

  5. I believe this practice was determined to be against policy in Montgomery County, MD. Schools can list these items as requested donations, but cannot require students to bring them.

    It has taken constant parental supervision at my kids’ school to get the maintenance staff to keep the bathrooms supplied with toilet paper and soap.

  6. Walter_E_Wallis says:

    I suspect the expense of one out of town conference would buy lots of toilet paper.

  7. Genevieve says:

    At my daughter’s school we have the option to buy all of the school supplies from the PTA. It saves on the hassle, but I don’t think I save any money (I also don’t think the PTA does it as a fundraiser, the organizer said that they just round up to the nearest dollar amount from what the supplies cost).
    I was talking to the school office manager at registration and she said that the district could get a better deal on school supplies than the parents do. I wish I could just write a larger check for book fees (we pay $27 for 2nd grade) and then the school could buy everything.
    Especially since all the supplies are shared in the classroom. At back to school night, all the supplies are just dumped into tubs. Then the teacher distributes the supplies as needed.


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