School party invite sparks controversy


There’s a party coming up for kids at a school in Lawrence County, but not all the kids are invited.
There’s a stipulation in order to attend that some consider discriminatory: You are invited “if you’ve purchased a school yearbook this school year by January 23rd”.

The grandfather of two kids who attend East Lawrence Elementary reached out to WZDX after he saw an invitation about a party that did not sit well with him.

“My initial reaction when I first read the letter from the school was– I was furious,” said David David Vanderslice. “You’re segregating a group of kids simply because they have no control what their parents spend money on.”

He reached out to the school and says he spoke with the assistant principal.

“When I expressed my concerns to him, at the end of our conversation, he said we will have this party regardless,” said David Vanderslice.

WZDX reached out and left several messages for the principal, who did not return the calls.

In a phone conversation with Lawrence county superintendent Dr. Jon Smith, WZDX’s Mary Stackhouse asked him twice if kids who did not purchase yearbooks would be allowed to attend the party. He said: “All students will be treated fairly and no one will be discriminated against for ability to buy a yearbook or inability to buy a yearbook.”

Vanderslice said Dr. Smith told him the same thing Friday afternoon. Vanderslice said he is satisfied with Dr. Smith’s response as long as the students are treated fairly.

“6 to11 year old children shouldn’t be separated because their parents didn’t buy a year book,” said Vanderslice.

The superintendent said Friday afternoon that one set of parents has reached out to him about the party, and he talked to them yesterday. He said hasn’t heard from any other parents about the party. 

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