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Viral Video Shows South Dakota Teachers Scrambling To Grab Cash In 'Dystopian' Fundraiser Game

Photo: Twitter
South Dakota teachers scramble for one dollar bills

A South Dakota junior hockey event is receiving criticism following a controversial event involving 10 South Dakota teachers that took place after the first period.

The event, which is being described as "dystopian" and is being compared to Netflix's "Squid Game" has highlighted the lack of funding being given to teachers who are forced to find alternative means to provide education to students.

A video South Dakota teachers scrambling for cash in a demeaning games.

The scene that has people across the internet up in arms played out as follows:

On Saturday, December 11th, a junior hockey game took place in Sioux South Dakota. Between the first and second periods, 10 teachers, who had applied to participate, were announced and walked out onto the ice.

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At the direction of the announcer and the cheers of the crowd, the 10 South Dakota teachers, wearing hockey helmets, walked toward a carpet that had been laid out in the center of the ice.

The teachers were battling for $5000 worth of $1 bills.

Each of the teachers had to apply and justify what they would use the money for in their classrooms. Some teachers intended to use the money for learning aids like iPads while others just wanted to use it for replacement equipment.

All of the teachers proceeded to get down on their hands and knees and began to scramble for the money on the carpet.

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As the crowd cheered and the announcer egged them on, the teachers spent the next sixty seconds grabbing handfuls of $1 bills and shoving them into hats, helmets, shirts, pants — wherever they could stow them — as they would be allowed to use whatever they could collect in one minute in their classrooms.

One of the teachers that participated in the “Dash for Cash” event was fifth grade teacher Alexandria Kuyper.

Kuyper said of the game, “I think it’s really cool when the community offers an opportunity like this for things that a lot of times pay out of pocket for.”

Despite the positive outlook that the participants seem to have had about the event, the tweet and video of the event went viral to a nearly universal negative reception.

The South Dakota fundraiser highlights the struggles of teachers all across the United States.

That teachers should be forced to compete for money to use in classrooms is a scandal in and of itself but the event reflects a nationwide struggle faced by teachers who are often underfunded and overworked. 

South Dakota teachers are some of the worst paid teachers in America, ranking 46th out of all 50 states in average teacher salaries and near the bottom of most lists in terms of the quality of classrooms and educations.

The video has been described as “demeaning,” “humiliating” and “dehumanizing” by viewers.

The spectacle of the event, with the announcer and the cheering crowd and the meager cash objective has some people drawing comparisons to the popular Netflix show “Squid Game” in which desperate contestants compete in life or death children’s games for money.

South Dakota politician Reynold Nesiba succinctly summed up the opinions and hopes of many of the event’s detractors, saying, “I hope … the absurdity of that image of teachers on their hands and knees in the middle of a hockey rink, trying to grab money, brings attention to the education funding needs that exist here in Sioux Falls, across South Dakota and across the U.S.”

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.