Matchmaking Web sites have become immensely popular on the dating scene for young adults, but how would you feel if your elementary school-age child was participating in surveys to find their ‘love connection?’
The Elwood Community School drama club in Elwood, Ind., is using their own matchmaking Web site for fundraising. The Web site was created by the school, and students in grades six through 10 can pay to find a compatible boyfriend or girlfriend, WISH-TV reported.
Parent Michelle Everett found out about the fundraiser when she found a match survey in her 11-year-old daughter’s book bag. The fundraiser takes place without parental consent slips, like most other school fundraising campaigns.
"I don't believe that at 11 years old a school should be promoting opposite sex matching," Everett said. "A tenth-grader matched with a sixth-grader? And the school is promoting it, and it's inappropriate."
Everett saw red flags when she read the survey that said it listed all the compatible matches of the opposite sex.
Despite Everett’s alleged phone calls to the school, the superintendent said he has not received any official complaints from parents. He claimed the survey is harmless, and has been raising money for the school for the past 15 years.
"I approved this fundraiser on February 1st, and I knew about the content of the survey, and it's just a good way for kids to have a little fun,” said Thomas Austin, superintendent of Elwood Community Schools. “It’s a voluntary survey.”
Everett said she is concerned the fundraiser could have an effect on pregnancy rates in the district.
Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor, agreed the fundraiser could have some negative consequences.
“It encourages adolescents to consider their relationships just as ‘adult’ as any other relationships typically kindled by ‘matchmaking,’” Ablow said. “This could certainly lead them to believe they are ready to engage in adult encounters.”
Austin said the matchmaking fundraiser has already been completed for this year, but he will consider putting a stop to next year’s fundraiser if he gets enough complaints.
In Ablow’s opinion, Austin should not only suspend the fundraiser, but resign from his position.
“Adults creating a system that makes them ‘matchmakers’ for children is psychologically indefensible,” Ablow said.