Recently, the Sioux Falls Stampede Hockey Club hosted a fundraiser for local South Dakota teachers in need of desks, supplies, and other classroom needs.
During the intermission of a Dec. 11 game, 5,000 single dollar bills were placed in the middle of the arena and 10 teachers were given five minutes to scoop up as much money as they could hold and subsequently keep.
The footage of the competition went viral and nearly 12 million people have viewed the clip, watching and re-watching teachers ravage the ice for money with hopes of bettering their students’ education, the dollar notes were placed everywhere; down their jumpers and into hats while the audience cheered.
The money was reportedly donated by CU Mortgage Direct to fund teaching supplies and classroom repairs.
“With everything that has gone on for the last couple of years with teachers and everything, we thought it was an awesome group thing to do for the teachers,” said Ryan Knudson, director of business development and marketing for CU Mortgage Direct. “The teachers in this area, and any teacher, they deserve whatever the heck they get.”
However, the competition drew nothing but criticism wherein the event was described to be “demeaning”. Loren Paul, president of the South Dakota Education Association, said it showed that the state needs to do better for its teachers and students when it comes to funding education.
American Federation of Teachers president, Randi Weingarten, tweeted that the display was “demeaning”. “This just feels demeaning … teachers shouldn’t have to dash for dollars for classroom supplies,” she said. No doubt people probably intended it to be fun, but from the outside it feels terrible.”
The company and the Sioux Falls Stampede later apologised for the competition, following widespread backlash.
“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,” they said in a joint statement.
They reiterated that the promotion was aimed at raising funds for local teachers and classrooms, and explained that they had randomly selected the 10 participants from a pool of 31 applicants. The team said it is giving them all more money, totaling an additional $15,500 for area teachers.
“Together with CU Mortgage Direct we will be providing an additional $500 to those teachers that participated in the event as well as providing $500 to those additional 21 applicants that were not able to participate,” it said.
They also promised to work with the South Dakota Teachers Association on future events that will support teachers and “funding for our next generation.”
Footage of the competition can be seen below: