A Texas high school’s dress down theme has sparked controversy among students and parents in the school district.
In preparation for homecoming, Plano East Senior High School launched “Bums vs. Billionaires” day at school on Oct. 22, WFAA reported.
Pictures of students participating in the themed day have surfaced on social media, and not everyone is amused.
"They would hold up signs and cups and ask for money,” Danielle Miller, a Plano East student, told WFAA.
The photos show students in tattered clothes, dirt on their faces, and cardboard signs in their hands.
Former Plano Independent School District (ISD) student Maggie Harvey launched a campaign to encourage parents to contact the school district and tell them to put a stop to the themed day.
“It's sending a message that we’re OK trivializing the issues that are going on,” Harvey said, adding that she has friends who are homeless.
According to the Collin County Homeless Coalition, the Plano school district has 360 homeless students.
Rob Scichili, of City House, a program that tries to help homeless children, said that homelessness is often an “invisible” issue and is happening everywhere.
“There are kids out there homeless going to Plano schools that have that burden of, ‘Where am I going to sleep tonight?’ instead of ‘How am I going to pass my trig test tomorrow?’” he said.
“[Student Senate] set last Thursday’s theme with the intention of students choosing to dress up or dress down,” the Plano ISD said in a statement.
The school’s principal sent an email out to students and parents regarding the issue. He said he was “dismayed” with the interpretation of the themed day, adding that the idea will be discontinued in the future.