Allowing Corporate Ads in Schools Is Opposite of What Education Stands For

May 9, 2018

Allowing Corporate Ads in Schools Is Opposite of What Education Stands For

Public Citizen Urges Missouri School District to Reconsider Plans to Allow Marketing on School Properties, Websites and Apps

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Wentzville School District should reverse its plan to allow corporate advertising on school properties, websites and apps and keep educational spaces a critical sanctuary from commercialism, Public Citizen said today.

The Missouri school district recently expanded its advertising program to recruit businesses for advertising at its schools’ sports and extracurricular events, on school-owned websites and through sponsorship opportunities.

“We understand that the financial pressures that your school district faces to fund student activities make you eager to identify non-traditional sources of funding,” Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert program wrote in a letter to the Wentzville School District board. “However, subjecting children to even greater amounts of advertising is the wrong response. It will raise little revenue while undermining Wentzville School District’s educational and child development mission. Educational institutions should promote civic virtue and the public good, not commercial values.”

The letter also is addressed to Wentzville Marketing Director Derrick Docket, who was hired this school year at $81,900 a year, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Docket told the Post-Dispatch that the door for advertising on school grounds is open for restaurants, real estate agencies, hospitals, banks, car dealerships, “you name it.”

Public Citizen warned that the harms of school commercialism are too great to balance out the lesser financial benefits. “As we have seen with other schools, school advertising programs rarely bring in significant funds, and the small revenues often barely offset the administrative cost and burden of putting them in place,” the letter states.

“Children and youth are constantly bombarded with commercialism everywhere they turn – from social media ads targeting their specific interests to product placement in music videos made by their favorite artists,” said Kristen Strader, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert program. “Schools should be a sanctuary from a world where everything seems to be for sale.”

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