Teachers in South Dakota are being paid less than they should, so there was backlash to the promotion at the South Dakota hockey game.

The sight of a group local schoolteachers rushing to grab stray dollars at a “Dash for Cash” event at a South Dakota minor-league hockey match has been met with criticism. It looked like something out of “Squid Game,” or “The Hunger Games.”

Ten teachers from Sioux Falls participated in the event, which took place between the periods at the Sioux Falls Stampede games on Dec. 11. They were competing for $5,000 each to use in their school or classroom.

They each sprinted to grab as many bills as possible in less than five minutes, while wearing hockey helmets and kneeling on a covered tarp containing 5,000-dollar bills.

The cash was presented by CU Mortgage Direct to the team as a way of helping local teachers.

“With all that has happened over the past couple of years with teachers and every other aspect, we thought it would be an awesome group thing for the teachers,” Ryan Knudson (Director of Business Development Marketing at CU Mortgage Direct) told the Argus Lead. “The teachers of this area and all teachers deserve everything they can get.”

The event was also criticised for being “dystopian and degrading,” with teachers who were not paid fighting for scarce resources.

This raised questions about why teachers must pay for classroom expenses out of their own pockets.

“Only in America do public schools teachers race to one another to scrounge about on the floor in order to… *checks note* fund their classrooms,” Ashton Pittman tweeted. He called it “dystopian.”

“Maybe you didn’t force teachers into humiliating themselves in public for cash, just saying,” one commented to a tweet from the Stampede’s verified accounts. “Bad mistake, you must make amends for the teachers and the public.”

Another commenter said. A properly funded classroom is not something you can ‘earn’ just by crawling on your knees for $1 bills. These are highly educated professionals being demoralized for entertainment’. Imagine CEOs doing such things.

ToDAY’s requests for comment from Jim Olander and Jim Knutson, Stampede president, did not receive any responses.

Jamie Smith, a member of South Dakota House of Representatives and a representative of part of Sioux Falls understands the backlash.

Smith stated that he believes people’s outrage underlines the need to fund education in South Dakota. Smith spoke TODAY. “I don’t believe that anyone tried to do anything illegal within the STampede.

Smith stated that he believes people’s outrage emphasizes the need to fund education in South Dakota. Smith spoke TODAY. “I don’t believe that anyone tried to do anything nefarious, or anything similar with Stampede promotion. But it’s sad they had to.”

It’s not good to be constantly underresourced, underappreciated and, now, at the game, it’s downright unfortunate.”

Smith, a former teacher, is married to a middle-school teacher. He understands the difficulties that teachers faced during the pandemic.

He said, “To be underresourced all of the time, to not be appreciated, and now to have this happen (at game), it’s tragic.”

Olander explained to KELOthat schools were required to apply for the event by asking teachers to describe how they would use the money in their classrooms. Teachers also sold $5 tickets to the game with all proceeds going to their school.

Reynold Nessiba (a state senator representing part of Sioux Falls) also condemned the promotion.

He tweeted: “I hope…the absurdity of that picture of teachers kneeling in the middle of hockey rinks, trying to grab cash, brings attention to education funding needs that exists here in Sioux Falls and across South Dakota.”

According to the National Education Association, South Dakota’s teachers rank second in terms of their salaries after Mississippi’s. The average salary for teachers in South Dakota was $49,000, while the national average is $66,000. According to the report, the average student spending in the state was $10,805 which ranks 38th in the nation.

Barry Longden, Harrisburg High School teacher, won the cash prize with $616. He said that he would use the money for his school’s esports teams.

He told the Argus Leader, “I’ve been throwing myself in the hat wherever I can find so I can get opportunities for money for the children.”