Castle Toyota Rescinds Scholarships After Students Decide To Mourn Their Dead Teacher Instead Of Staging A Commercial

Poor Howard Castleman. All he wanted was a little PR for his car dealership. Castleman planned to give four scholarships to students at Patterson High School in Baltimore, but instead of honoring Castleman’s charity by inviting the media and displaying his dealership’s banner at the senior’s farewell ceremony, the school instead decided to honor a long-time teacher who recently died of a heart attack…

Castleman responded by angrily withdrawing the scholarships, leaving the four students without the means to attend college.

The president and CEO of Castle Automotive Group, Howard Castleman, said it didn’t have to be this way. “We opted not to give it to them because of, quite frankly, attitude,” he said in a phone interview. He said school officials accused him of wanting to bring in a “media circus” and would not allow him to hang his company’s banner.

Castleman said that having press at the event would have paid public tribute to the teacher who died, it would have encouraged more people to donate to the school, and “we would’ve gotten some PR.”

[…]

“My family was very excited when they heard I would receive the money from Toyota in order to go to college,” said one of them, Iftin Iftin, a Somali refugee who graduated from Patterson on Saturday and plans to study English and computer programming.

When D’Anna summoned the students to tell them Castle wasn’t donating the money after all, Iftin said, “I couldn’t even smile all day.” At night, he said, “I couldn’t get sleep.”

Castleman also decided to cancel his annual Christmas party for poor Baltimore children, saying “This is it. I’ll never have another Christmas party for these kids. It doesn’t pay.”

Um, the missed lesson here, Castleman, is that charity should be its own reward, not a hackneyed public relations scheme.

Firm reneges on scholarships [The Baltimore Sun] (Thanks to Stanton!)