The Elementary School Selling Policy

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Every morning, teachers, students, and parents knock at Ana Mercedes Vélez’ door. Ana Vélez is the elementary school principal and has the burden of dealing with the many problems people bring to her each day. There is one issue that has been brought up often: the selling policy in TCS Elementary. After years of changes and controversy, the selling policy in the elementary school stands. Students from second to fifth grade are not allowed to sell any type of products or merchandise. Most directives and teachers believe it is for the best because elementary school students are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of a business. I believe students in the elementary school are not responsible and old enough to be entrusted to sell at school. The only grade that could be considered old enough to sell is fifth grade, which could be allowed to do so under special conditions. Selling during other years in elementary causes more problems than growth, and gives the kids unnecessary stress.

The head of the elementary school administration supports the current policy. “We allowed [selling] in some grades before, and it had many positive aspects, but it was suspended after a group of experts from the school analyzed the situation. This happened because lots of problems came up,” Vélez said when asked about her position. “Kids would steal each other’s materials and money, they would lend others money and didn’t know how to manage their debts, and a lot of other disciplinary issues.” The experiences of the trial policies have molded TCS’ Manual de Convivencia. Selling in elementary school is classified as a “Falta Leve,” and its consequence ranges from a verbal warning to a meeting with the parents. The Manual of Convivencia states, “For the students of the elementary school it is prohibited to buy or sell any article to another student.” This severe approach prevents disciplinary disruptions in class, and saves students from possible punishments.

Although some parents don’t agree with the current policy, many believe that at that age, kids can’t handle money. Manuela Ochoa, the parent of a first and a third grader, said, “kids shouldn’t be able to buy until fifth grade because they haven’t grasped the concept of the value of money. They still get manipulated by others to give away money or food. I don’t think they’re old enough to sell in a responsible way.” Many kids aren’t even given an allowance at all to begin with because it’s their parent’s money they’re mishandling.

Some kids are not even aware of the policy because they don’t see the need to earn money or to buy more food than they already have. If they want to buy something, most grades are able to buy from the vast selection of treats the cafeteria has to offer, during break. When asked about her interest in selling, third-grader Maria del Mar Acevedo said, “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.” Acevedo shared she brought her lunch from her home and added, “We also have the cafeteria, so that’s enough.” The lack of student support behind the counter-policy has stopped it from advancing, and with good reason, because it doesn’t comes naturally to kids at that age to sell.

Selling in elementary school should continue to be banned for students because they need to focus on cultivating basic skills those formative years. Kids in fifth grade could have an exception to the policy because they are of age to reap its benefit. Younger students that wish to sell, will get the chance to be part of the school’s market once they pass to middle school. There is no doubt sales are a way for students to develop entrepreneurship and real-life skills, but it only has a positive impact on them at the right age.