Friday, June 6, 2008

Homeschool Families Call for Boycott of Subway Restaurants

Homeschooling parents across the United States are now crying "Boycott" when it comes to Subway after the popular restaurant chain chose to exclude homeschooled students from entering their Subway Fresh Fit for Kids writing contest.

The contest, which you can view the details of here, invites students to write a story based upon one of four story starters, and encourages kids to be creative, while even encouraging parents to help their children write the story. Prizes for the contest included one Grand Prize winner who will receive $5,000 worth of athletic equipment for their school, a Scholastic Gift Basket for their home, a $100 Subway gift card, and the chance to have their story published on Subway's website as well as in Scholastic's Parent & Child Magazine. Six additional runners up will also receive a Scholastic Gift Basket and a $50 Subway gift card. In addition to the seven top prizes each entry that includes a Subway receipt store number will receive a free Scholastic book.

The homeschool community is a tight knit arena in which news travels fast. Forums, blogs, and email lists of homeschool parents have been a buzz all weekend over the exclusion with many heated discussions taking place. The number of parents choosing to homeschool their children is growing each year, and homeschooled students compete with public schooled children in many contests through out the school year. In 2007 the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was Evan O'Dorney a homeschool student who resides in Danville, California.

Many homeschooling parents understand that the reason for the snub may be the fact that the grand prize includes $5,000 worth of athletic equipment but they believe that this could have been gotten around by requiring homeschool families to donate the equipment to a park or charity of their choice, their homeschool association or co-op, or to a church.
Not only are parents who homeschool their children upset that they are not allowed to participate in the contest but they have pointed out the appalling typos that can be found in the writing contest rules. The writer of the copy misspelled United States by spelling it the "Untied States" and gift basket was misspelled "gift bakset".

While homeschooled parents across the web cry for a boycott and a public apology from Subway we can only wait to see if the proposed boycott will make a difference, and whether or not Subway can recover from this disastrous PR debacle.

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