In the wake of the controversy surrounding raffle tickets sold by a youth baseball team in Neosho, the Neosho School District has issued two statements about the situation. The 9U team is not affiliated with the district in any way and the raffle, with a prize of a locally manufactured AR-15 rifle, has made headlines around the world.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding raffle tickets sold by a youth baseball team in Neosho, the Neosho School District has issued two statements about the situation. The 9U team is not affiliated with the district in any way and the raffle, with a prize of a locally manufactured AR-15 rifle, has made headlines around the world.

In the first statement, on behalf of the Neosho School District, sent out by Meagan Spangler, district public relations director, reads:

"The Neosho 9U team hosting the raffle is not affiliated with Neosho School District and the raffle has at no point been school sanctioned," from the school statement. "The coach of the team is not a Neosho School District employee and our superintendent has no part in approving fundraisers or anything of the sort from teams not affiliated with our school. Community league teams in our town have been given permission to use our logos with district approval prior to usage. The use of our logo on the raffle flyer was not approved but we do not believe it was an action done in ill will. The team removed our logo from the flyer as soon as they were made aware of the situation. One of our principals did post on her personal page, as a mother to a Neosho 9U player, encouraging the community to support the team's fundraising efforts. She has released a statement apologizing for any offense and concerns caused by her actions and due to threats toward her family, she will not be making further comments."

A second statement, from South Elementary School principal Lee Woodward, was also shared by Spangler. Woodward's son is a team member and she shared a post promoting the raffle on her personal Facebook page. Woodward's statement read: "As the mother of a community league baseball player and a school principal, I am truly sorry to any who were offended or concerned by the team's raffle," said Woodward in her statement. "It was never my intention to offend anyone but to simply support my son and his teammates. My family is no longer participating in the fundraiser and because of death threats and other violence toward my family from across the nation, I have chosen not to comment further on this topic. " 

The City of Neosho Attorney Steve Hays sent out a statement.

"Since the date of the tragic shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a local Neosho youth baseball team has come under criticism for its raffling of an AR-15 rifle constructed by local manufacturer, Black Rain Ordinance," the city's attorney statement read. "Along with the criticism, emotions both pro and con have been voiced. These voices include the Neosho City Mayor, Ben Baker, who has stated his opinion as it relates to the raffle and the use of this rifle. Many people have made assumptions that Mayor Baker was speaking for the City of Neosho or its City Council. However, Mayor Baker’s opinion was voiced as an individual and not a representative of the City of Neosho or its City Council. Mayor Baker has previously qualified his statements as such and continues to do so today. The City of Neosho and its City Council have taken no official position on this matter, but leaves each opinion to its citizenry who is trusted to be well-informed and capable of deciding individually as to the propriety of the raffle. The City of Neosho asks that all persons engaged in this debate continue to remember the affected families who have suffered unconscionable loss due to the horrendous acts of Nikolas Cruz."

Another area youth team is also selling raffle tickets for an AR-15 as a fundraiser. Kory Johnson, coach of the Webb City Makos youth team, confirmed that the team began selling raffle tickets for the weapon prior to the Florida school shooting last week and that they will also continue to sell raffle tickets.

In both cases, the winner of the AR-15 will need to be at least 18 year of age and pass the required Missouri background checks.

The Neosho Daily News will continue to follow the controversy.