Crayons, Pencils, Folders...Disinfecting Wipes, Tissues...Feedback Friday

Back to School Resource blog raised a really interesting question last week. I would love to hear your feedback on the issue of school supply lists.

My boys had school supply lists that included the normal stuff, pencils, crayons, markers, notebooks, folders...etc... But included in these lists was also tissues, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizer.

It's Feedback Friday, so this is the question :

Do you feel that it is appropriate for teachers to request cleaning supplies on their school supply lists?



  1. Ah this has been a hot topic in the area I live!!

    I am a teacher and can honestly say those extra things on a supply list are used and VERY much needed on a daily basis!! Sadly, with the state of our economy, school districts across the country are in major financial crisis and simply don't have the money to provide schools and teachers with these extra supplies.

    Often times if teachers don't ask for parents help they will buy these items out of their own pockets because it's necessary to have these items in their classroom. Most teachers spend hundreds of dollars on supplies and material for their classrooms simply because the district does not have the means to equip them with everything they need for lessons and their classroom.

    With that being said, I know some families simply can't afford to spend money on these extra supplies and those students should NOT be penalized if they are unable to bring in those supplies. I know as a teacher I am always grateful with what's brought in and NEVER hold it against a child if they don't bring in everything on the list. I do know of some teachers that can be that way and I think that is wrong.

    I think it's important for teachers to really assess what they are asking each student to bring and see if there are items that are that are not necessary for EACH student to bring in. I do think some teachers go OVER board and ask for WAY too much!!

  2. what she said! My dh is a teacher and yeah...money out of pocket....grrr. I'd rather the teacher ask, and it sucks that there will be the few odd number that will actually include those things for everyone's benefit. it WOULD be less of a burden overall if everyone would bring in their ONE box of tissue and their ONE container of hand sanitizer...and I'm sorry I've seen too many "poor" families, living off the system with way more cool stuff than I could ever afford...so you can't tell me they can't squeeze out a box of tissues. this has been on the lists for years, if you know it's coming and you have 10 kids of your own, buy a box a week or even a month...ok, sorry, got me going.....grrrr....

  3. I don't mind them being on the list at all. I am a germ freak so just knowing my kids classes have these supplies makes me happy. Plus it helps to keep them from getting sick and that also makes me happy!! I usually ask the teachers during the winter time if they need more :).

  4. For both of my kid's schools their teacher had a supply list (pencil boxes, markers, etc) and a wish list (snacks, hand sanatizer, clorox wipes, tissues, etc). I liked this because I knew that if I was at the grocery store and one of these items were on sale I could pick it up and send it to class. It's not required but as a parent I like knowing what I can do to help if I want to. The teachers are also great about sending home little thank you notes when they get the things I send in.

  5. I would rather send in hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes instead of having a mopey, sick little guy. Well worth the money, in our book!

  6. I totally support buying supplies for the teachers, because they are items the kids really need. It's not for the teachers at all. And let's face it, teachers are not paid nearly enough for what they offer our kids.

  7. I agree with all of you. The supplies my school provides my teachers with are those non-absorbent brown paper towels and scratchy tissues - and forget hand sanitizer, they have the old pink soap!

    I think most teachers ask for these supplies so they can provide something nicer than the standard issue stuff and keep their classrooms healthy :)

  8. I like what everyone said!!

    I think that people need to remember that, what ever you send to the school will benefit your child in one way or the other.

    I also liked the idea of the teachers having the wish list.

  9. I agree with all above and let's face it...money is tight and it would not be fair to expect the teachers to foot the bill on these supplies. Teachers already spend much of their own money on classroom decor and other supplies.
    But hey...let's spend another 20 million dollars on a few more pork barrel projects...our government is good at that!
    Sorry...I had to go there ;-)

    Janet xox

  10. I totally agree with everyone! I will gladly offer up those items to help make the classroom a better place for our kids. Teachers end up putting a lot of their own money into their jobs, and I'll gladly help in any way I can. I appreciate that my son's teacher was thoughtful enough to have cough drops on hand for him this week when he got a sore throat or had a coughing fit.

  11. My oldest just started preschool...and I honestly think we had it easy...we just had to provide a backpack and then bring snacks three times throughout the year. I plan on bringing in some handsanitizer and other things as the year goes on to help the teacher out. Granted we pay for my child to go to school there so it is a little different. My SIL sends her daughter to a different preschool and they have to buy TONS of stuff for school, and there preschool costs way more than my sons.

    My Mom's cousin is a school teacher, and her school district requires the teacher to provide EVERYTHING!!! The students don't buy pencils, paper, kleenex or anything. The teacher busy it all...out of her own pocket!! I don't think that is fair. I think if our children will partake in the use of basic things then we should help pay for them. In todays world I think kleenex and hand sanitizer is something students use on a daily basis.

    Sorry, just my two cents worth.

  12. It used to be I would just gamely toss those items into my cart along witht he things I knew the kids needed for school, then I got wise to that and started waiting til Back to School night to ask in person. I think the teacher would *like* those things and is hoping one or two generous souls will provide them. I also wondered about all those zip locs - what happened to them? My kids would bring something home in a zip loc maybe twice the whole year, yet every year I was sending in boxes of them...

  13. This has been a topic of conversation in our community as well.

    And I'll tell you what; I fully support it. I am a neat-freak and will gladly pay out of my own pocket to buy kids' wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels and tissues. I'd rather know that the supplies are there and being used.

    Honestly, I can't imagine being a teacher. My mother-in-law is one and she tells how about the schools stiff the teachers, cut on supplies and basically make them purchase a lot of things out of their own pocket. My feeling is that the least I can do is help out by sending some stuff in. I'm OCD like that. LOL.

  14. I send everything that is asked for and even the things I can afford on the wish list because I know that money is very tight in our state and getting tighter...thanks in part to our wonderful governor [insert lots of sarcasm here] who has cut our state to the bone.

    I look at the sanitizer and wipes as insurance against those random cooties that float around.

    What I do have a problem with is all the pencils, erasers, crayons, and etc. becoming community property. I know for a fact that some parents do not send the required list and then the ones that do are taking up their slack. These are the same parents who poor mouth themselves and then drive their new SUVs and kids are dressed in the lastest fashions. It just irks the HE!! out of me.

  15. ´m all for germs. Really, I am. My children have the best immune system in the world because I let them be confronted with all sorts of dirt from a young age.
    I sincerly believe that a lot of those allergy problems we are facing today come from an increasing fear of things that are normal and we can´t eliminate anyway. I have never, in my entire life, used desinfectant, and my life is just fine :)

  16. I have never heard anyone mention it is a problem to ask for these items. And the kids at my local school are from all sorts of different cultures and economic status’. Teachers don’t like to get sick either and need plenty of tissues and they are probably staying late and going in on weekends to clean up their rooms. I know my Hubs does! He even bought a vacuum to keep at school. OK, he is a little freakish about cleanliness.

  17. I don't think of these as cleaning supplies. I think of them as student supplies. This is all stuff that will be used by the kids in the classroom to keep the germ situation under control. It really hit home this week when I asked my daughter what she did at school and she told me that she used germ-x. Apparently one of her classmates had gotten sick in the cafeteria and the teacher spent the rest of the day making sure they were all disinfected. LOL

  18. I spent a lot of time last year in my daughter's kindergarten classroom and was so glad they had hand sanitizer there! Her old school shared all the supplies among the children in her class. The one she attends this year (we moved) has them using the stuff they brought in. I don't mind especially since I know she is using what I bought for her, not that everything is community.

    AND the majority of her stuff was purchased at the Dollar Tree. It doesn't cost a ton if you spread it out and go to discount stores.

  19. The problem is that teachers usually buy most of their supplies out of their own salary. If I had little ones, I wouldn't mind helping the classroom out. I buy sanitizer for the drug clinic at which I intern, for our group room. It helps keep ME well.. :)

  20. Do I like that I am asked to do it? NO - if it is needed in school, it should be supplied. Do I get it ABSOLUTELY because the teachers end up paying for so much out of their own pockets to give our children a decent education.

    Here is my problem though - STATE FUNDING!!!! EAch year, the school's budget gets cut and they have to find ways to make ends meet - which is how this all started to begin with. But as they make it work, the state cuts a little bit more each and every year. When is educating our children going to be a priority for our government. In a few years, our children will be the "dummies" on the block and "dumming down" our future generations is not going to keep us competitive in a global marketplace. We need to be investing in our future.

    So YES, I pay it grudgingly. I also volunteer in the class and buy extra supplies as she needs them because her job is hard enough.

  21. I am a teacher---and I have to say that this supply list is very appropriate and needed for the classroom. Teachers spend way too much of their own money on cleaning supplies or supplies in general. We had to buy our own copy paper! This gets expensive! Any help that parents can give is appreciated! And I can tell you that several kids won't bring those items in--even though it is on the list! That makes the teacher crunch the supplies! And wipes are needed since there are germs spreading all the time!! Paper towels are needed but if they are not brought in....projects are cut, etc.

    Just letting you know--from a teacher's perspective--how hard it is to run a class on 100 bucks a year (that was our given amount to pay for games, supplies, movies, prizes, etc)--and this year...it went DOWN!!!!!!!!!

  22. As a teacher I want to say thank you to all the commenters here! It's nice to know we are appreciated and supported!

    Tonya, I completely agree with you about our government continually cutting school funding! I am really seeing it first hand in the district I work for and the sad thing is, it essentially effects the children!!

  23. Definitely appropriate. I also teach and if you actually saw the way kids waste stuff like this, you'd see why teachers ask for it. And trust me it's not just one or two kids, it's all of them.

    Around here do you know how much money a teacher gets in Sept to buy the supplies (including things like chalk) for their class? $50. Guess how far that goes.

    When I was doing my internship, which is completely unpaid, I spent a lot of my own money on things like pens (where do your children put their pens?????), paper (seriously buy them paper!), duotangs, etc.

    To the person who thinks allergies have to do with germs, you have a fundamental lack of understanding about allergies and I find your insinuation that kids have allergies because their parents are germaphobes insulting. Please educate yourself and be thankful your kids don't have to deal with allergies. What germs and playing in the dirt have to do with allergies is beyond me and I don't have children but I do have severe allergies that I have had my whole life (and guess what, I played in the dirt and wasn't afraid of germs) and I'm also an adult. Allergies always existed it's just that now people are actually aware and respectful of those who have them unlike when I went to school.

    And asking for hand sanitizer has nothing to do with being afraid of germs either. Try working in a school where parents send their sick kids in because they don't want to pay a babysitter and that's what the school is for right? To babysit? (not) So this kid is sitting there hacking and snotting all over the place, using up all the kleenex that the teacher paid for, etc.

    It's a fact of life if you enclose a bunch of people in a small space, germs will spread. Especially when some of those people come in when they should be at home. Don't wash properly because they're kids. Touch everything. Don't cover their mouths when coughing.

    I can't tell you how many times I've seen kids that should have been home in bed at school...

    I hope that people don't actually complain about supplying stuff like that. Kids don't care. They don't get it. They waste the stuff. They never have their own kleenex (or pens or paper, it seems).

  24. One last comment, I've noticed that the people who often complain the most or don't supply the kids with what they need aren't the people with the low incomes... It's the people that CAN afford it. Generally speaking (and in my own personal experience of course), people from low incomes are the ones that try the hardest. They're the ones who DO send in the extra stuff a lot of the time.

    And when I'm teaching there's no way I'm going to let a kid go without because their parents are poor and they can't afford what they need. Teachers don't live the high life and drive around in fancy cars and most of them poor a significant amount of what they earn back into their classroom, to benefit your children because believe it or not, we actually really care about them.

  25. Alright, I'm not adding much here, but felt like commenting. I agree those things are needed. One thing a couple of my kid's teachers have done is put a wish list on the board. Little stars labeled and taped up that the parents could pick from and send back to school on the evening of open house. I do remember when I was in grade school getting excited to see the box of kleenex come out that had my name on it. Hmm, is that weird?

  26. I don't think we should have to send in cleaning supplies as part of the school supply budget...but I also don't think the teachers should have to pay for it out of their own pockets. Having grown up with two teachers as parents, I know that happens way too often. So I will pay for the cleaning supplies so they don't have to!

  27. Great topic! My husband and I discussed this quite a bit this year. I guess what bothers me about it is what others have mentioned too - - that there are plenty of families that just cannot afford this. I took my son's school list to Target and when I was finished, had spent $50 on all of the supplies. As a family, while we are able to afford this, we live in a poverty-ridden area and I just can't imagine how most of the families can afford all of the supplies. I was surprised this year to see many personal office supplies for the teacher on the list, such as 2 packages of dry erase markers ($10) - - the children do not use them, so I was wondering why she possibly needed 50 packages of dry erase markers. ???

    All that being said, it disgusts me that teachers are left with the responsibility of providing basic supplies for their students due to repeated budget cuts. I may raise my eyebrow from time to time at some of the items that appear on the lists, but I will always find a way to provide all of them.

  28. I don't see a problem with teachers asking for disinfectant wipes/sanitizers, but I would roll my eyes to see 24 packages of dry erasers coming in. I think one of the major problems with "funding" of public schools is waste. In my state, the govt. is spending thousands of dollars on EACH child every year, yet the level of actual *EDUCATION* is not so hot. The private school down the road spends far less on each child (books/supplies/computers, etc.), yet their standards of education are much much higher. I hate red tape, and I hate seeing my hard earned money wasted.


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