TEXAS CITY — A group of parents is attempting to raise money for an after-graduation party for the Texas City High School Class of 2015 by raffling an AR-15 rifle.
The Texas City High School Project Graduation Class of 2015 is raffling the .308-caliber rifle and a laser range finder to kick-start raising funds, said one of the organization’s presidents.
But while for some it may seem strange to mix guns with a student event, Pam Apfell, co-president of the Project Graduation Class of 2015 group, said raffling the rifle was just one more way of raising money for the group.
“In Texas that raises a lot of money,” she said.
Parents of the students in the Class of 2015 began raising money when their children graduated from the eighth grade, Apfell said. All the money raised will be used for an alcohol- and drug-free party after graduation, usually held at the Nessler Center. There are usually prizes for students and, if enough money is raised, gift cards for the students, she said.
There have been project graduation groups organizing parties for seniors for the past 30 years in Texas City and there are similar events at many other schools, Apfell said.
The group is an independent organization of volunteer parents and community members, said Superintendent Cynthia Lusignolo.
“It is within the discretion of the Project Graduation organizing members to select appropriate fundraising events, including raffle items,” Lusignolo said.
Asked whether she thought giving away a rifle was appropriate, Lusignolo said she thought it was, given the care the parent group was taking.
Whoever wins the rifle will have to pick it up at a licensed gun shop, present identification and go through a background check, she said.
“We have many gun enthusiasts and hunters in Galveston County, and we have a shooting range in Texas City,” Lusignolo said. “As a result, a raffle for a rifle is likely to be highly successful in our area.”
The group had not received any complaints about the raffle item that she was aware of, Apfell said.
She said she was only one parent in the group and wouldn’t give her opinion on the appropriateness of raffling the rifle, but she did say this was not the first time one of the project graduation groups has raffled a rifle.
She said the raffle — tickets are $20 a piece and the group is only selling 500 — is only open to adults. The raffle winner will be picked Sept. 1.