Can you require students to bring materials?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by orangepurple, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    We are hearing talk that, due to a lawsuit, we cannot ask students to bring anything to school or to purchase PE uniforms or planners. At the same time, we have no supplies at school or any budget for buying them. I am planning to require a composition notebook and pens and pencils. I hope this will work out.

    I would be happy to provide materials for a few students whose families can't afford them, but what about the rest of the kids?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Until I hear otherwise, I do require students to bring supplies.

    As for your question, I think you're going to have to find a way to make it work. I recommend going to Donors Choose or talking with local businesses and asking for donations of at least paper and pencils. You can probably do everything you need with just those two things. If you feel like you want more stuff (markers, colored pencils, glue, whatever), just expand your Donors Choose wish request.

    Good luck to you. Sounds like a rough situation to be in.
     
  4. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    When I was in Corporate America I was amazed by the amount of waste of supplies...paper, binders, all kinds of stuff was tossed out just because someobody didn't want it. I worked one place where they decided to centralize all of the supplies bought and old stuff was tossed out because it didn't fall into the specifics of the new rules. It was perfectly useable. Maybe a few teachers at your school could get together and draft some sort of letter to the businesses around you asking for used or extra supplies. There must be some sort of tax write-off for them.
     
  5. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I am really surprised that parents complain about paying more taxes to support schools, yet, will not spend a little money to buy simple supplies. How they expect their children to learn without paper and something to write with I have no clue. Very sad. :(
     
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    My understanding is that, in California, it's still possible to ask: it's just that one can't require. One hopes you're in the sort of demographic where parents who can afford supplies will buy what you suggest.

    The lawsuit(s) in question came about because parents who were actually fairly willing to pay some fees found themselves getting socked up to a couple hundred dollars a year per activity, and getting socked multiple times a year. I can understand both sides here: districts are in desperate straits, but so are families. Some districts are cutting out activities altogether; others are looking at more ambitious fundraising.

    Caesar, brace yourself: if similar suits aren't brewing in the rest of the country, I'll be very surprised.

    jen12, that's a grand idea!
     
  7. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    I know we will have a lot of parents who will be fine with buying their kids notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. And we always have a few kids who are homeless at least part of the year, and the counselors round up some backpacks and binders and other supplies for them, or even buy them. The PE teachers have always saved the abandoned uniforms that still look decent and they wash them and keep them for those who can't buy one. But now, it seems like there is some question about whether we can say they even need uniforms.
    It's just going to be hard, with 180 kids or so, if we suddenly can't require things like binders...we've been emphasizing organization and keeping binders or notebooks and using planners, but I can't buy them all!
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    We can still require supplies. It would be very interesting teaching if we could require even basic supplies like pens, paper, etc... I could probably live without the kids having binders but not paper.
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I'm making a supply list. Many of my students will ignore it. This year I have way, WAY too much added to my plate to worry about it. I have high school students. There isn't a single one of them that doesn't waste money on something during the first week of school. I see it as working on one of our school's mission statement points - I am helping shape a student so he can be a productive member of the 21st century workforce. I'll have paper available at the beginning of the week. I'll have a pencil or two as well. If they're gone, they're gone.

    This is becoming a huge sore point for me. I haven't met even one student that was not capable of purchasing their own pencil and paper. I've had four homeless students. When I tried to help them and their families out the stuff I offered wasn't good enough. The last one, a teen girl, lived in a shelter. Bought two new phones during the semester I had her. One was an iPhone. She couldn't dress out for PE because she didn't have shoes. But she could buy an iPhone. When my coworker bought her some shoes she turned her nose up.

    The day a student who is truly in need arrives in my class I will gladly open my cabinet and let him/her choose whatever is in there. I am extremely generous. But I'm also getting bitter over the lack of responsibility and entitlement.

    Parents who refuse to buy basic supplies shouldn't even have children. If you can't afford the fees for Junior to be on the basketball team, maybe he shouldn't be on the basketball team. Not sure where our founding fathers promised anyone a position on the court. If you think cable tv is more important than the $30 of supplies your child may need, then you need to revisit having those kids in your home. I was able to buy everything my children need and a lot of what they want for this school year, for $32 total. That's two kids who are in secondary schools. $21 of that was for a new backpack that dd wanted. Her old was was perfectly fine so this was definitely a want, not a need.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I supply materials for my needy students on an individual basis. I'm happy to do it because I know that it's appreciated. I hate the idea of being expected to provide for all my students, and I won't do that out of my own pocket. Truthfully, it would be a lot easier for me to provide more supplies for my students if they didn't have better phones, iPods, and shoes than I do.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    and drive nicer cars!

    We can't afford a car for my own kid. Yet I'm expected to provide school supplies to students who have their own.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Now to go off on a tangent but I had a kid last year complain about having to buy lab goggles that cost $2. He had a car, nice phone, etc... :rolleyes:
     
  13. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm going to put out a different perspective. BEFORE I thought about becoming a teacher, I remember being mad at my child's first school supply list. How dare I pay HUNDREDS of dollars per month in real estate taxes alone and the school wasn't even providing the teacher with dry erase markers. Yes, I now know that little kids use them for mini dry erase boards as well but frankly it still bugs me.

    As a teacher, I still feel this way but I'm no longer fighting it as a parent because I know how things are. Why is it okay for schools to not budget the cost of doing business in their budget when just about every other profession out there supplies their employees with basic supplies? We aren't independent contractors.

    I realize the budget is in dire straits but sometimes I also realize there are just so many rules and regulations as well as bad management that gets in the way of effective planning.

    Oh, I do realize we aren't a for profit business and that could be some of the downfall but many nonprofits work themselves out and many don't. The ones that don't, fall. It's all a catch 22.

    I don't get mad at parents who don't supply. As a parent and a taxpayer, I actually understand it. Sure I can afford it. I do buy it. But I also think part of doing business is supplying teachers with what they need to do to teach. It shouldn't come out of the teacher's pocket.

    If it was just about paper and pencils for students that parents supplied, I would understand but schools aren't even providing their teachers with copy paper. Yes the results go to the students but sometimes there just has to be a line. Schools have gotten out of hand and just passed the buck either to the parents and really mostly to the teachers.

    As a parent and a teacher, I applaud these lawsuits. I hope one day a teacher sues and wins because frankly we need to be suing schools and telling them to get their budget in order and supply these classrooms with basic supplies.

    Sometimes I think it might be cheaper to pay tuition than taxes to fund poorly managed schools.
     
  14. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    We've had years where we had no instructional money. This year we didn't know if we would have money until school started... $134 and some odd cents. Well, our school is a small school and it costs us more per teacher for a copy machine. We've been asked if we would give some of our instructional money to go toward the copier but we can't be made to give it. If it weren't for all the IEP's we have to do, I could see where we might not really need one or as much paper expense but geeeeeeeeeeeeeeez at the IEP pages!
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Oh, I do understand that the budget isn't there. Yet I see money wasted on many other things in the budget all the time. It's based on where money is allowed to go. I think it's wrong.

    I'll give you a clear example. We have a free after school program. Problem number one... why? I understand making it cheaper so parents will place their child there thus increasing more opportunities for their deaf child to have more language exposure in casual settings but a small fee is not out of the question when it is clearly an elective. What else? Their budget allows for more arts and craft supplies, materials to teach, etc. than our instructional budget does. Why? Different monies. Different rules. Wrong. Why should the teachers have to pay for that? Why should taxpayers have to pay for that?
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I am SO worried about our copy limit this year. All those IEP's to print out, including copies for the gen ed teacher and the parent. I also use a ton of paper for progress monitoring every week and that's pretty much non-negotiable, it's not like I can just not have the data. On top of that, we just got an e mail from our ess director giving us a link to the parent procedural safeguards for IEP's. In the past, they've had copies made and brought them to our school. This year, they want us to print them out ourselves and give them to parents- so that's another 30 something pages per IEP meeting. And all of this is BEFORE I even think about making any copies for my actual lessons or instructional time. I don't know how I'm going to do it!

    More on the original topic, I understand that families have tight budgtets as well, but we don't ask for much at our school because we know our families don't have a lot of money. However, every year there are numerous kids that say they can't afford notebook paper or pencils, yet they come in with brand new 100 dollar gym shoes, nicer jewelery than I own, brand new outfits, etc. Yet they can't afford a 1 dollar pack of pencils? I know at their age it's really their parents fault, so we can't be upset with the kids, but it's frustrating!
     
  17. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In the UK our kids are expected to bring pens, pencils, rubbers (erasers) etc to school. The schools provide notebooks and textbooks. However in my school many kids fail to bring a pen. So now each teacher is given a supply of pens and we ask our class at registration (Division) if they need a pen, then they can 'loan' one for the day. It is not really a loan as the pen is never returned and the same kid will need another next day. The result of this, of course, is that the number of kids without pens has gone up from one or two per class to seven or eight per class!

    So now at the start of each year I buy a couple of hundred pens from a supermarket. They end up costing about 2p each. Then any kid who does not have a pen can buy one off me for 10p. There are still kids who will buy one everyday!

    And I don't take the 'we can't afford them' line from most of the kids as they all have £50 training shoes and Blackberries and they can all afford to pay 45p for a packet of crisps (chips). There are one or two genuine cases and the extra money I make subsidises them.
     
  18. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    THANK YOU! :thumb: You brought up some excellent points and I share your frustration. I work in schools where money is not an issue for most of the families attending the schools, but still I see TOO many teens with brand new cell phones and clothes but who could care less about buying themselves a notebook and taking notes to learn from.

    Let their actions bite them in the butt-- they think we're crazy when we tell them they should organize themselves and try to get a good education. And honestly, some parents really should not have children and should be ashamed at how they're "raising" their kids.
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Regardless of how anyone feels about personal/parental responsibility, school budgets, or socioeconomics, the fact is that the California Supreme Court ruled in Hartzell v. Connell, that education in California is completely free according to Article 9 in the California Constitution.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/4698840/California-School-Fees-Legality

    The CA constitution uses the word "free" without any qualifications or disclaimers. In Hartzell, the court interpreted that to mean that schools could not require students to purchase anything or pay for anything that they would not be required to have outside of school.

    Or, as Frank Zappa put it, "Free is when you don't have to pay for nothing or do nothing."
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Actually, though, I think some would be surprised at how very expensive it can become to get all those supplies.

    I know the standard solution is simply to shop the summer sales. But some people don't realize that, some people don't have their supply lists, and some teachers don't ask for the stuff that goes on sale.

    Last week I spent $70 at Staples. On binders. Not looseleaf or notebooks orpens ormarkers or glue or crayons or any of the other zillion things my kids will need. On binders for my two middle school aged kids. Because apparently each and every teacher needs his or her own one inch binder. Could I have gotten by cheaper? Yes, but then I would be shopping again for replacements in a few months.

    Thankfully, we're in a position where it's a headache, not a crisis. But for many families in this economy, that's not the case.

    So, yes, I do think that parents should do all in their power to enable their kids to find success.

    But I do think that it could come a whole lot cheaper than it does.

    I'm not talking about the exceptions that have been mentioned here, just the typical family trying to make their money stretch to cover school supplies and get their kids involved in a sport or activity (because that means less time spent hanging around, where it's easier for trouble to find you) and perhaps funding some orthodonture. (For us right now: 2 kids @$8,000 each. Not covered by insurance.)
     
  21. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    In Australia, 'free education' refers to the education part and not the supplies. The state govt provides the buildings, classrooms, desks, chairs, furniture and teachers. At my children's school, anything else is requested via a Book List and the Resource Contribution Scheme. The RCS is voluntary and you also have the option to donate to the Library which is tax deductible. Oh, and building funds are tax deductible as well.

    That said, there are some parents who will not pay for supplies as a matter of principle, because education is supposed to be 'free'.
     
  22. SpecSub

    SpecSub Comrade

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    If education were free, it wouldn't be paid for out of our property taxes. LOL.

    There's no such thing as a free education. Funds have to come from somewhere.
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    My niece who is going into 5th grade was complaining on fb that they hadn't bought new school supplies and were going to have to use what was left over from last year. :eek:hmy: That's exactly what we do in our house. If we have folders we don't buy new folders. Those "fancy" folders with pictures on them, nope, don't buy them. I buy the cheap ones, my kids take care of them & they last.

    I don't buy the super cheap binders for my high schooler, but I expect him to take care of it & for it to make it through the year. Depending on the subject the binder may get reused for another subject or kept as a reference for the next class.
     
  24. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    I do not think it is unreasonable to require paper and writing supplies. Maybe a composition book and something to organize with, like a binder.

    I used to have a longer requirement list but I cut it back quite a bit when I thought about how much it cost just for my class, and then to think that in high school they get a requirement list for every class.

    This year with 1:1 laptops, they will only need a notebook and writing utensil. I am asking kids in Honors to buy Great Gatsby, but this has been common practice in the past. I will be asking to order new books if I am teaching the class again next year.

    I know how frustrated my mom is with my sister. Last year they did a neat program where the school did something with Staples and they could order everything for a discount. On the first day it was on their desk and she didn't have to get anything - in theory. Of course once the year started, the teacher changed everything. She didn't use most of the supplies and asked for additional ones. This year, she is required to have 5 2" binders. How do you even carry all of that?? And they are around $5 each. I told my mom I would wait for school to start and double check for that. (This was the list in walmart) It;s ridiculous.
     
  25. yarnwoman

    yarnwoman Cohort

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    I am in CA also. This year we were told that we could ask (require) students to have supplies that do not become classroom supplies. For example, a binder, pencils, composition books that stay with that student.
    For things like extra paper, pencils, erasers, kleenex, sanitizer we put on a donation list.

    My school said rule of thumb is if it is to be a classroom supply then it goes on donation list. If it stays with the students then it is their property and can be required.
     
  26. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    Well, I ended up sending a list home, calling it supplies your child needs...
    I don't want them to have a lot of things, and in fact, I tell them they do not need a binder, just someplace like a section in a binder or a folder to keep papers in.

    I just really really want them to bring pens and pencils. The school doesn't have any for us to use, but even if I were to buy them, it just seems like some of the kids you give pencils to often need them day after day--they are not keeping the pencil I give them. They just throw them on the floor in the hall!
    We were told today that there are no supplies of lined paper for this year. I hope some kids will have paper, because otherwise I will have to buy a pack a day, with over 150 kids! Last year, I ended up buying all the paper for one writing assessment, because we had to give a writing test and the supply of lined paper was gone by that point in the spring. This year, we're at that point now, I guess.
     
  27. rosebuddie3

    rosebuddie3 Rookie

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    We don't "require" items. We make suggestions. We collaborate on a Supply List and they're provided at various supply stores,etc. Most teachers, myself included, will suggest the dollar stores, discount stores, etc. I shop there and get many "on sale" items prior to school starting, just to have in my supply closet. I rarely have parents who say "I can't or won't give anything". Usually, they are in a tight spot (paid once a month, laid off, etc) and most would hate to have "hand outs" or want to take charity. I am very understanding, however, I do get very frustrated when a child is without necessities, like paper or pencil to do work at home or $1.50 contribution for an additional field trip, but the parents have the latest cell plan, or designer shoes/jeans, or the newest game system!! But, I can't blame my students (second graders) for the choices their parents make or don't make. So, I try to provide what is needed but try to help the student understand that being responsible is a good character trait.
     
  28. Sam Aye M

    Sam Aye M Mr. Know-It-All

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    I am very surprised that you could do that in CA. The general rule is that you can't require ANYTHING. Not uniforms, pencils, folders, ANYTHING. YOu can, however, request or recommend them, which usually works for most kids unless they can't (or think they can't) afford them.
     
  29. orangepurple

    orangepurple Companion

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    I guess I'm still surprised that nobody ever mentioned this to me, because I could certainly have worded things more carefully when requesting kids bring supplies. I think our administrators are the ones who sent out a lot of "requirements" like the planners, p.e. uniforms, etc. And I just wish we could order or get reimbursed for stuff if we have to provide it personally.
     
  30. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    When you say 'we have to provide it personally' what would happen if you didn't?

    If your politicians want to give out a 'free' education then it is up to them to fund it out of taxes not expect their employees to do it! Do your street sweepers buy their own brooms, your Policemen buy their own uniforms or your park keepers buy their own plants for the flower beds?
     
  31. vivid2012

    vivid2012 New Member

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    Yup, that's might be the way to go.
     
  32. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    In many districts police do buy their own uniforms. They especially buy any extras for the uniform (holster, any armor, etc.) They are also often paid less than teachers, at least in my neck of the woods. Just pointing that out... I do agree with you, though. We should not be expected to provide supplies for our students.
     
  33. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I would agree with them buying their own uniforms. It's like buying clothes for work. Now if they have to purchase their own guns, etc., that's a different story.
     
  34. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Or pay for the gas in their patrol cars...
     
  35. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Really! Would that apply to your soldiers as well? Perhaps your pilots should have to buy their own jets!
     
  36. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't have a problem either way with whether our tax dollars support uniforms or not. All I am saying is that buying clothes for work is much different than supplying gas for a company car or other tools and supplies for the job. All of us buy clothes for work. At the same time, I have no problem with them having a uniform allowance because I recognize that uniforms do cost more to buy than an average outfit and they require a lot more upkeep. My comment was based on Miss Celia's comment about policemen buying their own uniforms. I'm okay with that as long as it is not prohibitively more expensive than an average worker's clothes. If it is, then it needs to be provided. At the same time if it is a perk for all of it to be bought, I'm also okay with that given the types of jobs they do for the type of pay they receive. I'm just noting the difference between asking someone to pay for clothes versus other supplies on the job. They are not strictly comparable.
     
  37. daisy11

    daisy11 Rookie

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    In my school we send parents a supply list for all grades. My school even asks for supplies for the front office, 2 rims of paper for the copy machine. two per student!!! some parents bring it and some don't!
     
  38. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS 7th grade ELA SDI in Texas

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    It has always been my understanding that a teacher / school can ASK but not require supplies from the student / parent. I was told it was because requiring supplies violated the "free, public education" act. It's not free if they have to pay for supplies.

    When I was a student in elementary school, we did not ever have to supply our own supplies.

    At my school, I do ask for supplies (pens, paper, 2-pocket folder, comp. book, index cards). I also inform the parents of which store has the item on sale.

    As a parent, I cringe every time one of my 4 children bring home a supplies list... they are long and redundant (the kids need a pair of scissors every year? really? why not just use the 22 scissors you got last year? and why is one grade requiring 7" scissors and the next grade requiring 5" scissors?).

    At the end of the year, the teachers send home their journals and I swear my children have NEVER filled out even half a journal! I send the same one back the next year after I've torn out all the used pages.

    For 1st grade, they needed a STENO pad. When my 1st child came back at the end of the year with ONLY TWO PAGES used, I was miffed... those steno pads are never on sale. My last 2 didn't bring them.

    Sorry... supplies is a sore spot.
     
  39. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    When we were back in the states, in CA where I am from, my daughter always had required supplies (she attended a public school) and I brought them in-no problem. Of course, if there was a lawsuit, and since Ca is so lawsuit friendly there probably is, things might have changed. What does your P say?
     
  40. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Aug 28, 2011

    I didn't realise that your kids even had to supply scissors!

    All we require our kids to bring is a pen and pencil. The school provides all paper, exercise books, rulers, protractors, compasses, rubbers etc.
     
  41. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 28, 2011

    Scissors is a basic staple on every school supply list I've ever seen for my children and we've lived in lots of places. I agree that we shouldn't have to supply them every year. Some teachers give school supplies back to the student at the end of the year.
     

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