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Baltimore County Schools Ban PTA Craft Fairs

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TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County’s Parent Teacher Association makes thousands of dollars sponsoring craft fairs at schools, but Suzanne Collins reports parents are upset about a new rule barring that activity.

At Ridgely Middle, the PTA raised $13,000 in November. They held craft fairs, selling handmade items. The new rules ban Baltimore County School craft fairs.

“I’m very disappointed and you just have to ask why? I don’t understand why. I don’t feel we’ve been given a good explanation of why,” said PTA president Kay Hardisky.

“What this is aimed at doing is ensuring we’re taking into account public safety and health. And that we’re making good stewardship for the uses of our facilities here at Baltimore County Schools,” said Charles Herndon, Baltimore County Schools.

Kathy Lally is an artisan, who sells her crafts at Ridgely Middle and a number of other county school craft fairs. She says people come back year after year and she loves seeing the school children who volunteer.

“I would just like the school board to reconsider, and I’m sure most of us do feel the same way. We look forward to the camaraderie, like I said, the kids,” said Lally.

Ridgely has held a craft fair for more than 30 years. Even students make crafts, and participate selling them. It has taught them a lot about being an entrepreneur in the real business world.

Other students get service hour credit helping out. All PTA profits are used to help improve the curriculum.

County schools say it must make sure events at schools serve an educational purpose, and there’s concern that profit-making ventures don’t fit that mold. There could also be liability.

It’s depressing to those who love the school craft fairs.

“It’s our social time, it’s friends, it’s creativeness, it’s meeting a lot of nice people, getting the kids involved and community involved,” said Lally.

The Ridgely PTA says besides the craft fair, its only other source of revenue is donations from parents.

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