The Snow Canyon Lady Warriors rugby team from St. George, Utah, wanted to raise funds for a national tournament in Wisconsin. In a parent-organized event last weekend, the girls were selling cookies, cupcakes and raffle tickets.
The baked treats were all well and good but some took issue with the raffle, which ended up being for a shotgun and a rifle, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
The raffle for the firearm, like a couple others TheBlaze has reported on in recent months, drew criticism in the town from residents and school officials who didn’t believe it was an appropriate item.
“This is a highly inappropriate way for a team to raise money, no matter how desperately it’s needed,” Dorothy Engelman told the Tribune, saying she also notified the school after seeing it. “Having our young people hawk raffle tickets for guns seems very insensitive at the least, given recent mass shootings and the high rate of youth suicides in Utah. Is this what we want to teach our children?”
Unlike official teams of the school, the rugby team is considered a club sport and doesn’t receive any funding outside of what the girls bring together themselves.
“The rugby team has had a great season and has done such great things for our community,” Snow Canyon Principal Warren Brooks said. “We love the rugby team. We love the program. But we can’t condone this. We don’t want foolish things to mar their good name.”
Brooks told the Tribune that the school promptly shut down the raffle for the gun when it heard about what was going on. The raffle in general, regardless of the gun, was against school fund raising policies. An administrator said the club was only granted permission for a bake and rummage sale.
Head coach of the USA Rugby governed team, Cathy Hasfurther, who volunteers in the position, said she was not aware of the fundraiser but not that gun would be raffled off.
St. George News reported Brooks saying the club would face some sort of punishment for the raffle, but he wouldn’t elaborate further. The publication then reported the rules of Utah Youth Rugby, the state-level of the league, whose president said it didn’t violate any league codes.
“Unless it involves drugs, alcohol, or pornography, we do not prohibit [what the teams do],” Michael Cressler, president of the state league, told St. George News.
Another club team in the state earlier this year, the Uintah Utes hockey team, raffled an AR-15 to raise money to attend the national tournament. This Uintah High School team’s raffle was protested by a graduate but was allowed to carry on none the less and raised $5,000.
Engleman told St. George News she doesn’t second guess her decision to alert the school about the controversial raffle, but the chairwoman of the Washington County Democratic Party noted to the St. George Daily Spectrum that she has been threatened by others for her involvement.
“I’m not against the Second Amendment. All I did was exercise my First Amendment rights,” she said. “The amount of flak I’ve taken on this has been just incredible.”