Disney fined a PTA for showing the Lion King at a fundraising event to benefit students
The Lion King/Disney

California ranks 41st in the total value of its economy invested in K-12 education, and California's per pupil spending is below the national average. Fundraisers are usually a way to help struggling schools make ends meet – except for when they're not. Elementary School in Berkley, California held a "parent's night out" fundraiser to benefit the school. The parents played the live-action remake of The Lion King to keep the kids busy while the parents were raising money for the school, thinking it would be a more affordable alternative to babysitting. It wasn't.

Over two months after the fundraiser, they received a notice from Email Licensing USA, a firm representing Disney, claiming they held an illegal screening of the film and had to pay a fine of $250. The school has no idea how the screening got flagged – or why. "One of the dads bought the movie at Best Buy," PTA president David Rose told CNN. "He owned it. We literally had no idea we were breaking any rules."


RELATED: A Florida high school just became the first classroom to dissect synthetic frogs

"Any time a movie is shown outside of the home, legal permission is needed to show it, as it is considered a Public Performance," the email said. "Any time movies are shown without the proper license, copyright law is violated and the entity showing the movie can be fined by the studios. If a movie is shown for any entertainment reason -- even in the classroom, it is required by law that the school obtains a Public Performance license."

The event raised $800, and the PTA plans to use some of the funds that were supposed to go to school supplies to pay the fine."[I]f we have to fork over a third of it to Disney, so be it. You know, lesson learned," PTA president David Rose told KPIX.

Parents are understandably livid about the fine, especially because the Walt Disney Company isn't exactly hurting for money. According to Forbes, it's valued at $238.1 billion. Even though the PTA plans to pay the fine, they're not doing it without putting up a fight.




Lori Dorste is a parent of an Emerson student, but she's also a Berkley City Council member. Dorste says that Disney is part of the reason why schools are so underfunded in the first place. "There was an initiative passed in 1979 called Proposition 13 which casts the property tax on all land, and so Disney's property tax rates are at 1978 values, which translates into millions upon millions of dollars a year that Disney is not paying," Droste told CNN. "Because of that, our schools are now extremely underfunded. We went from the '70s being among the top education systems in the US to one of the lowest."

RELATED: The Internet can't decide if Beyoncé was photoshopped into this Lion King cast photo. John Oliver is here to help crack the case.

Droste said that some parents have donated money to help the PTA pay the fine, but it's still not fair. "It's just so appalling that an incredibly wealthy corporation … is having its licensing agents chase after a PTA having to raise insane amounts of money just to pay teachers, cover financial scholarships and manage school programs," Droste told CNN. "We would be enthusiastic about paying the license fee if Disney was willing to have their properties reassessed and pay some additional property taxes."

It just goes to show, not every lesson is learned in the classroom.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less
via Tom Ward / Instagram

Artist Tom Ward has used his incredible illustration techniques to give us some new perspective on modern life through popular Disney characters. "Disney characters are so iconic that I thought transporting them to our modern world could help us see it through new eyes," he told The Metro.

Tom says he wanted to bring to life "the times we live in and communicate topical issues in a relatable way."

In Ward's "Alt Disney" series, Prince Charming and Pinocchio have fallen victim to smart phone addiction. Ariel is living in a polluted ocean, and Simba and Baloo have been abused by humans.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

With many schools going virtual, many daycare facilities being closed or limited, and millions of parents working from home during the pandemic, the balance working moms have always struggled to achieve has become even more challenging in 2020. Though there are more women in the workforce than ever, women still take on the lion's share of household and childcare duties. Moms also tend to bear the mental load of keeping track of all the little details that keep family life running smoothly, from noticing when kids are outgrowing their clothing to keeping track of doctor and dentist appointments to organizing kids' extracurricular activities.

It's a lot. And it's a lot more now that we're also dealing with the daily existential dread of a global pandemic, social unrest, political upheaval, and increasingly intense natural disasters.

That's why scientist Gretchen Goldman's refreshingly honest photo showing where and how she conducted a CNN interview is resonating with so many.

Keep Reading Show less

Schools often have to walk a fine line when it comes to parental complaints. Diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and preferences for what kids see and hear will always mean that schools can't please everyone all the time, so educators have to discern what's best for the whole, broad spectrum of kids in their care.

Sometimes, what's best is hard to discern. Sometimes it's absolutely not.

Such was the case this week when a parent at a St. Louis elementary school complained in a Facebook group about a book that was read to her 7-year-old. The parent wrote:

"Anyone else check out the read a loud book on Canvas for 2nd grade today? Ron's Big Mission was the book that was read out loud to my 7 year old. I caught this after she watched it bc I was working with my 3rd grader. I have called my daughters school. Parents, we have to preview what we are letting the kids see on there."

Keep Reading Show less