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South Dakota PTA: Arts and Advocacy for Children

South Dakota has more than sixty PTA chapters throughout the state, with nearly 4,000 members. (
South Dakota has more than sixty PTA chapters throughout the state, with nearly 4,000 members. (
September 17, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The National Parent Teacher Association is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its student art awards program, known as Reflections, and South Dakota's PTA is encouraging students to participate.

Children in preschool through grade 12 are eligible, and they can enter in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.

South Dakota PTA President Stephanie Owens says this year's theme, Heroes Around Me, encourages students to explore what that means to them.

"South Dakota is very active in the Reflections PTA program, and for the last several years, we have actually had students throughout the state that placed at a national level," she states.

Owens says students have plenty of time – the submission deadline for Reflections entries isn't until July 1, 2019.

South Dakota has more than 60 PTA chapters with nearly 4,000 members.

Owens describes the PTA as the nation's largest advocacy group for children, and says the South Dakota chapter is closely following a proposal in August by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, suggesting school districts be allowed to buy guns with school safety money.

Owens says the state PTA chapter is aligned with the national organization, which maintains lawmakers should be focused instead on ways to reduce gun violence and help protect children.

"Points that we're currently advocating this year for our students is opposing the use of federal funds to purchase guns for schools," she states.

When polled, 82 percent of educators said they would not carry a gun at school, even though 63 percent said they are gun owners.

South Dakota is one of several states that has provisions to allow school staff members to carry firearms on school grounds.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD