District claims no affiliation with rifle raffle

DALLAS — The Dallas School District issued a statement Monday saying that it is not affiliated with the Lady Dragons Fastpitch softball program fundraising raffle of an AR-15.

“There are concerns being raised in our community about Lady Dragons Fastpitch. In the fall, they had a donation of an AR-15 rifle to use for a raffle/fundraiser to support their team needs. Lady Dragons Fastpitch is not a district-sponsored club,” Dallas Superintendent Michelle Johnstone said in a statement regarding the raffle. “The district was not consulted by the people making the decision, and our district is not in any way part of the raffle.”

The raffle began on Jan. 30, and the organization posted on its Facebook page Tuesday (today) that the raffle has sold out.

Lady Dragons Fastpitch is a nonprofit independent softball tournament club that uses the Dallas High School logo and mascot, but is otherwise not connected to the school district. According to Lady Dragons Fastpitch, the mascot and logo are available for any organization to use, and it is not uncommon for non-school affiliated sports teams to school logos.

After some local residents expressed concern about continuing the raffle following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the group issued a statement.

“We strive to offer a low-cost tournament option to the Dallas community. To achieve this, we depend heavily on fundraising and community sponsorships,” the statement read. “When approached with the opportunity to receive an AR-15 rifle from a private donor for raffle, our board members unanimously decided to move forward with organizing it. “

Citizens opposed to the raffle say that even though Lady Dragons is not affiliated with the district, because it uses DHS logo and school facilities, the district should take action.

They pointed out that the district’s policy regarding facility use states: “all users of district facilities must comply with all rules, reasonable standards of conduct, and safe practices. Disregard of these or requests made by school district employees shall be cause for cancelling school facility use privileges for that individual or for the entire group.”

Lady Dragons Fastpitch said that Dallas Outdoors owner Micky Garus is on the volunteer board of the organization and a coach, but he is not the donor of the rifle.

Those concerned about the raffle say they understand the need for fundraising, but encouraged the organization to use something else as its raffle prize.

“While we sympathize with current events and the climate surrounding them, this is a legal, well-regulated raffle, with tickets being sold to willing and able purchasers,” the Lady Dragons statement read. “The winner of the raffle will have to pass all necessary background checks, the same as would be required of them to purchase the rifle.”

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