Days before a nationwide student demonstration over last month's deadly school shooting in Florida, a parent-teacher organization at a Phoenix school chose to advertise a fundraiser like this:
"YOU'VE BEEN TARGETED!"
"READY, AIM AND SHOOT!"
The startling and tone-deaf language appeared in a March 19 Facebook post with a link to tickets for a Nerf gun battle.
The Parent Teacher Organization at Biltmore Preparatory Academy is hosting the "2nd Annual 'Snerf' Battle" on Friday.
From the event listing, tickets are $30 per couple or $35 for two or more students and an adult.
The fee earns you a hot dog and a drink, as well as a photo with your gun-battle partner. You also get "Warrior Paint for camouflaging face and hair" and shields that kids can decorate "for battle."
Safety goggles, the PTO says, are "mandatory for children."
Biltmore Prep is a K-8 district school in northeast Phoenix that offers a unique dual-language program for elementary and middle school students.
The Biltmore PTO and a spokesperson for the Creighton Elementary District did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but we'll update this when we hear from them. Shortly after Phoenix New Times reached out to the PTO and the Creighton administration, both the Facebook post and Eventbrite listing disappeared.
Students in Phoenix and around the country plan to march against gun violence on Saturday, the day after the event at Biltmore. So it's quite the interesting fundraising strategy to host a pretend gun battle at all, much less to spread the word by telling Biltmore families, "YOU'VE BEEN TARGETED!"
Maybe the PTO organizers of the Nerf battle don't have a TV or an internet connection, and therefore missed the nonstop conversation on school shootings since last month. Or maybe, this being the second annual Nerf fundraiser, the school's perspective is that the event must go on, despite the unsettling parallels.
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