Alex Degman (@AlexDegmanKMOX)

FESTUS, Mo. (KMOX) — It’s been a 20-year tradition at Festus High School — the annual TREND talent show. This year, though, it’s been slapped with a bit of internet controversy.

A post appeared Monday on the Facebook page Jeffco 411 — it’s a site where county residents can anonymously submit questions, complaints, praise or anything else of interest — the idea is to have a central place to talk about things happening in Jefferson County.

There are two shows scheduled for this week, one on Thursday night (the main show) and a pared-down version with only a few acts to take place during school hours Friday. TREND, which stands for Turning Resources and Energy in New Directions, is asking a $5 admission price if someone wants to attend both shows — $2 if they want to only attend the Friday show.

As the flier posted to JeffCo 411 points out, students who do not attend the Friday performance will be sent to the cafeteria to “work.”

“Sounds like forcing the poor into slave labor,” commented one user.  “Just great, punishment for being poor, then make them work in cafeteria adding insult to injury,” said another.

Dr. Diana Allen, the principal at Festus High School, assured KMOX there are no plans to force children into slave labor if they can’t afford the $2 to attend Friday’s performance. She says if a student really wants to go but don’t have the money, the school will help them out.

Allen says it’s not an event being put on by the school itself, but rather a student group. Students have no obligation to attend. If they don’t, they will do school work in the cafeteria.

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