Band boosters gun raffle still on despite opposition

Band boosters gun raffle still on despite opposition

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

For the third consecutive year, the Lubbock Cooper Band Boosters are raising funds via a raffle. This year's fundraiser caused some concern, specifically for a student who is petitioning against it and has gathered hundreds of signatures.

15-year-old Ainsley lost her grandparents unexpectedly two years ago from a gun-involved murder suicide. Her mother Kimberly Jones said she now suffers from post-traumatic stress.

"She has a panic attack every time she sees a gun or people start talking about guns, she has a panic attack," Jones said. 

Jones said they immediately felt uneasy when they heard about the booster club's plans.

"We're basically saying to kids, just hey, bring on gun culture into our schools," Jones said. "I mean they don't know the background of every child, they have these gross assumptions that everybody was raised around guns.I was born and raised here and we never had a gun in our home." 

Jones said this is not a constitutional issue but the concern for each student that walks through those doors.

"When there is a raffle like this and we are willingly putting more and more firearms in the community, I just can't wrap my head around that," Jones said.  
"Why would we increase the odds around somebody getting hurt, regardless of what you feel about fire arms, just statistically why introduce more weapons into the community." 

We spoke to booster president, Kevin Woelfel.  He said over the phone, they are "simply doing a fundraiser." Woelfel called after the story aired to express that they have had more people interested in the the raffle because of this discussion. He expects the fundraiser to have the best turn out yet. 

For the Joneses, they said it is like shouting into the wilderness trying to get a response from the booster club and the school board.

"Nobody's trying to take your guns from Cooper, it's not about that," Jones said. "It's the appropriateness of guns and high schoolers and it's about feeling safe and not having to go to school and worrying about having a panic attack, especially in band where it's her one place she gets her grief out, that's how she expresses herself." 

The family will continue to voice it's opposition with the hopes if not this year, next year the fundraiser will be changed. 
    
"It's very inspiring to see that a girl, a 15-year-old," Jones said. "She's a freshmen, youngest at the school can stand up in front of these adults and tell her story over and over, no matter how much pain it brings her, just to try to get it across that this is not okay, this is not normal."

In a statement, Lubbock Cooper spokeswoman Sadie Alderson said the safety of students is the district's number one priority and it has an open door policy if a student or teacher suspects suspicious activity.

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