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KCS Coupon Book Fundraiser raises some concerns for some parents who can't make sales goals

Parents like Justin Howe say the fundraiser is too much to handle because it adds new kinds of stress for children trying to sell coupon books.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Knox County School's coupon book fundraiser campaign has been around since 1989 and it is the district's largest fundraiser. 

Parents like Justin Howe say the format of the fundraiser is too much to handle because it adds a new kind of stress for students who hope to earn new privileges like extra time outside during recess.

"The problem is, we all know there's a handful of parents who can write any size, check needed, and sell one more coupon book than was required," said Howe.

His children attend Powell Middle School. He said they got an email Thursday saying if they sold $20 worth of books by midnight, their students would get extra outside playtime. 

He didn't have enough time to sell any, so he donated his own money.

"We sent them each with $20, so they can have their outside time today," he said. “I don't like that. Middle school was the last place kids need more pressure to fit in." 

Howe believes other parents did the same thing, and he said he does not believe the incentive is fair.

However, some parents say they think there is nothing wrong with having a contest to boost sales. 

"I think that trying to promote bettering their community, their school being the community — I think that's a great thing," said one parent.

And child counselors like Melissa Rose say the fundraiser incentives are meant to be a form of healthy competition and are not harmful to kids. 

"You know, it provides a lot of learning opportunities, and instills important values, like perseverance and even empathy,” said Rose. 

"I don't mind the concept. I guess I don't like how it's being practiced,” said Howe. 

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