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The "Foolish" singer spent June 1 at Atlantic City High School, where she met privately with middle school students, recorded an interview on the school's radio station, and even lead assemblies for the 7th and 8th graders. Ashanti's appearance was dubbed "a once in a lifetime opportunity" by a school district official.
While local residents are unhappy with the amount paid to the entertainer for speaking to the students, the payment has been described as typical compensation for such an appearance. The sum was taken from a school budget designated for instructional services.
"She was paid like any other vendor," explained Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Donna Haye.
"How many members of the 1% [sic] would give up their day of doing wonderful acts of kindness and solving world problems to interact with urban children and encourage them to stay in school. And all for only $20,000. Truly inspirational," wrote one NJ.com user, whose response holds a sarcastic tone.
Ashanti, who is a noted philanthropist, has yet to comment on the controversy.