Dear Carole:I wrote back:
Thank you for getting in touch with your concern regarding the toys sold
and pets distributed at Festival. As I'm sure you can imagine, one of the
challenges of putting on an event of this nature is managing the vendors
who are selling items in the boutique. As a school, we try to monitor
carefully anything that could carry with it an implied endorsement. The
festival boutique presents real challenges to this endeavor.
I appreciate the concerns that you have raised, and we will certainly take
them into consideration in preparing for next year's festival. We are
always working to improve the environment for our girls at Burke's. Thank
you for bringing your concerns straight to us. I am a believer in direct
communication and assure you that we do take your concerns seriously. As
we begin working with next year's festival chairs, we will be certain that
this issues are fully explored.
I had previously decided that if I didn't get a satisfactory answer, I did not wish to donate to the school's annual fund this year. The Sober Husband agreed to that, and instead we'll be donating to PETA. Oh, how I love donating to PETA when someone pisses me off on an animal issue. I would never make a donation in someone else's name -- that would be rude -- but I am happy to inform people that I'm donating inspired by them (even when I'm angry, I try to split those etiquette hairs properly).
Thank you for your response. I would like to point something out, however: the fur toys were not sold by an outside vendor. The fairyland area, like the KDBS spa, the home cooking booth, etc..., is done by parents organized through the festival committee. It's more of an organic part of the event, as opposed to the vendors who come in for that day to sell. I would note that also the school posted fliers for the fairyland zone ahead of time at the school (which got my children fired up to go see it; indeed my daughter had intended to spend her $50 birthday money there). Accordingly I do think it is appropriate to hold this (and the fish, which were given by the school as prizes for playing games) against the school. It's not something done by an outside entity without oversight by the official organizers; it's part of the festival which is planned and created through the official committee.
Due to this issue, our family has decided to break with our tradition of donating to the KDBS annual fund and instead donate that money to PETA. I hope that Burke's will evaluate its lack of policies about fur and laissez faire attitude about the goldfish prizes before the next festival.