Students' Toe-Licking 'Game' for High School Fundraiser Ignites Firestorm: ‘Disgusting’

The school district said in a statement that the fundraiser raised over $150,000

  • Oklahoma Fox affiliate KOSH shared video of Deer Creek High School students allegedly licking toes for a fundraiser

  • However, the school district said “much of the information accompanying this video is inaccurate”

  • The executive director of Not Your Average Joe, the recipient of the funds, said that his coffee shops have received phone threats and bad reviews online after the video went viral

A video showing Oklahoma students allegedly licking toes at a recent high school fundraising event has generated controversy, prompting a state superintendent to call the depicted act “disgusting.”

In footage shared with Fox affiliate KOSH, students (whose faces were blurred to hide their identities) appeared to be licking peanut butter off toes at an event on Thursday at Deer Creek High School in Edmond.

The event raised money for the nonprofit coffee company Not Your Average Joe, which hires people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, according to the outlet.

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An unidentified parent told KOSH that she was stunned when her daughter told her about the event.

"'Wait, what? They're licking peanut butter off of toes. What?'" she said.

"I am all for fundraising and all for really fun and silly things, but that right there just seems a little excessive," the parent added.

The Deer Creek School District said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that the school hosted a “Clash of the Classes” assembly in which ninth- through 12th-grade students participated in “student-organized class competitions” to raise money as part of its "Wonderful Week of Fundraising" (WWF).

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“We want to stress to our community that much of the information accompanying this video is inaccurate,” the district said. “However, through this specific game we failed to uphold the dignity of our students and the proud image of our community. We have a responsibility to protect our Antlers and showcase them in a positive light. In regards to this one particular activity, we fell short and for that we greatly apologize."

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“We are taking steps to ensure that this is not repeated,” the statement continued, “and that all fundraising activities are carried out with the pride and respect worthy of our students, staff and community. We strive to offer a positive experience for both our students and the charity that our annual fundraising efforts support. This is an important part of our WWF mission and will play an even greater role in future decision-making. Moving forward, we want to learn from this experience and do better in the future.”

According to the district, the fundraiser generated over $150,000 for Not Your Average Joe.

“We want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of many of our students and staff that contributed to making WWF a week filled with activities and events designed to bring our community together,” the district’s statement added. “Our students who participated in the game in question, as well as those involved in all our other WWF activities, deserve our full support for their philanthropic intentions.”

“Thank you for standing with us and helping us to weather this storm and move forward together,” the district said.

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The footage showing the alleged act ignited critical reaction on social media, including from Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters, who shared the clip on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“This is disgusting,” Walsh wrote. “We are cleaning up this filth in Oklahoma schools. Our agency is investigating.”

Tim Herbel, executive director of Not Your Average Joe, told The Oklahoman that he wasn’t at the school’s fundraising event and that the students chose the nonprofit for the fundraiser.

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He said that in the wake of the video shared on KOSH, his coffee shops have received threats via the phone as well as negative reviews online. PEOPLE has reached out to Herbel for comment.

“They call our stores and our friends with special needs usually answer the phones and they are being cussed out and called pedophiles,” Herbel told the paper. “One star reviews from all over the country. We’re not this well-funded machine that has all these dollars. We’re getting beat up. The kids are getting beat up.”

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