Teachers get into Squid Game-style Dash for Cash to raise funds. An apology follows

A giveaway to make school life better was supposed to feel fun, like Takeshi's Castle. Instead, it ended up looking like Squid Game.

 |  -minute read |   14-12-2021
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A few weeks ago, watching Squid Game on Netflix might have freaked you out because of how dreadful and "dystopian" it was. What you will read next about reality, might remind you of the same.

One arena in South Dakota, US; 10 teachers pitted against each other, frantically looking to stock up on dollar bills to help improve their school. And no, the participants did not come to watch this. They came for a good game of hockey between Sioux Falls Stampede and Tri City Storm... But that did not make as much news as this. 

WHAT HAPPENED?

In South Dakota, Sioux Falls Stampede organised a “Dash for Cash” giveaway with CU Mortgage Direct, a local lending company, during their hockey game with Tri City Storm. They invited applications from teachers, and 31 teachers applied. Randomly, 10 teachers were selected to appear on the ice for the promotion.

Why teachers? Teachers could use this extra money to improve their classrooms. So, during the interval, this happened: 

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT

As the entire arena watched, the competing teachers got down on their knees, frantically scooped up and jostled for 5,000 dollar bills, and stuffed it in their shirts and bags.  

WHY THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM

Even though it was made with good intentions, NO teacher should have to go through THIS to raise funds for schoolkids in the first place. Especially if they are known to rank next to last in teachers' pay in their country. So many professionals raise funds for their growth and none are as demeaning as this, so why should teachers? It was widely seen as insulting, absurd, and done in the name of raising ’’funds for kids’’. It was also swiftly criticised because it looked like a game from the blockbuster Netflix show Squid Game.

HOW THE ORGANISERS RESPONDED

As per the President of the Hockey team, they wanted to contribute to the school funding and had teachers explain in their applications about how they would use the funds for the school. Of course, now the organisers have apologised in a written statement as now they ''can see how it appears to be degrading". 

"Although our intent was to provide a positive and fun experience for teachers, we can see how it appears to be degrading and insulting towards the participating teachers and the teaching profession as a whole. We deeply regret and apologise to all teachers for any embarrassment this may have caused," read their statement. 

WHAT WAS THE MONEY LIKE?

The 10 participating teachers received a minimum of $500 each, and for every ticket sold by them, $5 went to their school. CU Mortgage and Stampede also provided $500 extra to these teachers who participated in the game, and $500 for those who did not get selected to participate.

WHAT'S THE SQUID GAME ANALOGY? 

Dystopia means 'an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanised, fearful lives'. The hockey game giveaway felt like it was demeaning to teachers just like Squid Game was to its players.

Squid Game depicts the story of an artificial, make-believe world where unassuming players who need money are invited to play games through small talk. While playing childhood games seems to be an easy way to make quick cash, over 450 participants enter a murder fest with hope and anxiety. The games portray characters who face social inequality, poverty, and do not have enough money to get through their day, and they are willing to do anything to get to the next level and win the prize money. Even if it means deceiving and lying to the opponents, cheating their way through the game, and even losing thier integrity and self-respect, if not their life. 

Squid Game resonated with the audience because it reflected the audience's financial and mental struggles and its consequences very well. The audience bonded with the show as it resonated with the loss of income, dear ones, pride, fear, anxiety, which showed the animal instincts that humans tend to follow. It also showed how non-dignified acts surprisingly become highly tolerable when humans are faced with terrifying situations which arise out of lack.   

Netflix had stated then that their show does not have real-life consequences, and we wonder if it's time for them to take their words back. Coz clearly, people can see similar situations in even hockey games today.

Writer

Akshata Kamath Akshata Kamath @akshispublished

Akshata Kamath is a Digital Storyteller at DailyO. She loves to simplify Finance, Business, Healing and History.

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