School Report - School Raffle Concerns Some
Hoops, hi-fives, and hunting are a way of life in Harrisburg. Every year, Harrisburg seniors hold a raffle to fund their senior trip. Three dollars gets you a shot at this years hot raffle item: A gun. It's a 50-caliber black powder muzzleloader and anyone can buy a ticket.
"If you're trying to keep school shootings out of schools, then don't sell a gun at a school, I'm amazed it's legal," said Harrisburg parent Joy Brooks.
It is legal. Missouri state law says only that a student is subject to suspension or expulsion if they bring a weapon to school. It says nothing about selling a gun at school through a raffle or any other means.
"It's illegal to have weapons on school property so how can it be legal to sell a firearm to a minor on school property."
Harrisburg Principal Janice Rehak doesn't see a problem."Well, I think that you can buy a gun at Wal-Mart if you're 18, can't you," Principal Rehak asked. "I don't think [it's different in a school setting], I really don't because really because the purpose here is for our kids and its a fun activity, it's a good time."
Brooks and others say allowing the raffle makes it tough as parents.
"Parents are trying to convince the kids that we should separate the guns and the weapons from schools, but then as parents were raffling a gun at the school, it just doesn't set a very good example for the kids," Harrisbug parent Lonnie Jones said.
While some parents raise concern over the raffling of a gun in a high school setting like this one, others we talked to say it's not that big of a deal, they say it's just a part of culture here in the small town of Harrisburg.
"I really don't think its a big issue because we do have a lot of hunters around here and I think it's a high interest raffle item in this area, they're just trying to raise funds," Harrisburg parent Jane Sublett said.
"Even though it's a raffle, it's raising money for the kids, it's great, it's wonderful, but there are a thousand other things they could raffle...a thousand other things."
Principal Rehak says the school took steps to make sure a minor wouldn't get the gun. If a minor won the gun, an 18-year old would have to pick it up. Brooks says there's no way of knowing where the gun would end up.
"If a minor bought that raffle ticket, a minor could go get any 18-year old to claim the gun for them, any 18-year old, that does not mean the parents are going to know that their child has that gun," Brooks said.
And in light of recent school shootings, she fears for her child's safety.
"The school shooting, they have the attitude that it won't happen here, this is Harrsiburg, but the reality is, it could happen anywhere," Brooks said.
Despite the debate, the principal raffled off the gun at half-court during a junior high boys basketball game. Something many say is just a part of life for Bulldog fans.
Students had to sell $20 worth of tickets in order to go on the senior trip. One of those students won with a ticket she "bought" from herself. She doesn't want the gun. So she's selling it to someone who does.