'Dash for Cash' Video Showing Teachers Scramble for Dollar Bills Compared to 'Squid Game'

South Dakota teachers competed against each other to grab fistfuls of a $5,000 cash pile at the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game on Saturday, Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

In the first "Dash for Cash" event, 10 Sioux Falls area teachers fought each other to grab as many 1 dollar bills as possible in under five minutes from a pile of money on a rug in the middle of the ice rink.

The money was donated by CU Mortgage Direct and is intended to go towards things needed in the teachers' classrooms.

Footage of the event has begun circulating on Twitter with one video being viewed over 5 million times. The clip showed teachers grabbing the money and stuffing it in their shirts and trousers as quickly as possible to the delight of hockey fans in the stadium.

Director of Business Development and Marketing at CU Mortgage explained the reasoning behind the event.

He said: "With everything that has gone on for the last couple of years with teachers and everything, we thought it was an awesome group thing to do for the teachers. The teachers in this area and any teacher, they deserve whatever the heck they get."

Newsweek has contacted CU Mortgage Direct for comment.

According to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, citing data from the 2021 South Dakota
Teacher Compensation Review Board report, salaries for teachers in South Dakota have repeatedly been among the lowest in hte U.S. over the past few years.

For 2019-2020, the National Education Association ranked South Dakota 50th in the U.S. for teacher salaries. In 2018-19 the state ranked 48th, in 2017-18 it was 47th, and in 2016-17 it was 48th.

South Dakota teachers have seen an increase in average pay over recent years and went from $40,023 in 2013-2014 to $48,984 in 2019-2020, but this increase is roughly in line with the annual rate of inflation.

Teachers participating in the Dash for Cash event noted what they would spend the money on. Seventh grade math and science teacher at Memorial Middle School, Patrick Heyen, said he would spend the money on flexible seating.

Explaining why he would buy standing desks or wobble chairs he said: "It just gives them options to be comfortable when they're in the classroom."

Alexandria Kuyper, a fifth grade teacher at Discovery Elementary, explained that teachers often pay for the small things in their classroom and treats out of their own pocket.

She said: "I think it's really cool when the community offers an opportunity like this for things that educators a lot of times pay out of pocket for."

Barry Longden of Harrisburg High school coached the e-sports club and said he would use the money for more equipment for his club.

He said: "Getting the equipment for the kids is really just the big component of what gives them access to this because otherwise, it's really inaccessible for most kids."

Tash Davis of Dell Rapid Public won $378; Leah Van Tol of Lifescape Speciality school won $379; Melissa Cole of Centerville Public School won $409; Amy Staples of Oscar Howe Elementary School won $473; Patrick Heyen of Memorial Middle School won $478; Sawyer Schmitz of Webster Elementary School won $513; Jill Kratovil of Madison Central won $569; Stephanie Sparks of Brandon Valley Middle School won $574; Alexandria Kuyper of Discovery Elementary School won $592; and Barry Longden of Harrisburg High School won $616.

Many viewers of the video took to commenting their disapproval at the idea of teachers competing for this money rather than being written a check.

Human rights lawyers Qasim Rashid wrote: "Disgusting and dehumanizing. Tax billionaires already. This is dystopian. South Dakota arena holds a "Dash for Cash" where teachers get on their knees and fight for $1 bills to use for class supplies as people watch and cheer. South Dakota ranks 29th in K-12 education.

9news reporter Steve Staeger said: "The Sioux Falls Stampede offered teachers a chance to 'Dash for Cash' for their classrooms... when they could have... I don't know... just written them a check."

Vice News Correspondent Dexter Thomas compared the event to a scene from the popular Netflix show Squid Game, where people in debt play games to the death in hopes of winning money.

He said: "Squid Game (Korean, fantasy): Underpaid people play games on hidden island for $38.5m. Audience: VIPs, Goal: A better life."

Dash for Cash (USA, real life): underpaid teachers grovel on their knees in ice rink for a share of $5k. Audience: Stadium full of people, Goal: buy pencils for the kids."

teacher classroom
Stock image of a woman teaching a class. South Dakota teachers competed against each other for $5,000 at the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey game on Saturday. Getty Images