I have a rule. Well, I have many rules. But this one rule is that I NEVER join the "Parent Teacher" group in any school.
My son just started in a new private kindergarten. On the first day we were flooded with the inevitable paperwork from the PTO at the school. One of the papers that were provided talked about how they want 100% participation in the PTO this year and to encourage that they were going to throw a party for each class when all the parents in that class had given the PTO the membership fee.
The PTO decided that they were going to extort money from parents by holding a party for the kids over their heads. The president of the PTO at the school actually came up to my wife and told her that my child's classroom was the only one who had nothad a party yet and we were the only family that had not paid their "protection" fee. Worse- they are publicizing to the other families in the classroom that we are the family responsible for preventing the class from having the party.
Do I need to tell the parents reading this what that means to my boy's social life?
This is the very reason I won't join a PTO or PTA. The organization supposedly run by Parents and Teachers for the betterment of our children uses the same tactics as organized crime and drug dealers. I have had a number of similar things go on during the time my older kids are in school. The "raffle" that we are told we MUST sell the tickets for or buy them ourselves. The Wrapping Paper, Candy, Cake, Etc. sales folders that come home- where they expect us to harass out co-workers to overpay for mediocre products.
Over and over again these organizations use peer pressure to try and force participation by parents and when we just say no to the peer pressure, they try extortion. What lessons do I teach my children if I give in to this peer pressure and extortion and pay the fee? It's not about the money. It's about supporting (or not supporting) an organization that you just don't agree with.
I think we need the presidents of these organizations to sit through a D.A.R.E. presentation. Just change the words "Drugs and Alcohol" to "PTO". This kind of behavior should be illegal and any school with a PTO behaving like this should reject the funds donated by the PTOuntil the extortion stops.