Nov. 17, 2011
In-School Advertising Is the Wrong Way to Raise Revenue for Douglas County
Letter Describes Advertising’s Harmful Effects on Developing Children
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Board of Education of the Douglas County School System should not move forward with plans for increased commercial advertising on school properties, Public Citizen said in a letter sent today to the school board.
Adopting this amendment would raise little revenue and undermine Douglas County’s educational and child development mission, the letter said. The advertisements would bring only miniscule financial benefits; the small revenues would barely offset the administrative cost and burden of putting the advertising program in place.
“Children already are surrounded by near-constant advertising that promotes consumerism and commercial values,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “But the ubiquity of advertising is not a reason for allowing corporate naming rights and in-school advertising to persist; it is a reason why children need a sanctuary from a world where everything seems to be for sale.”
Added Elizabeth Ben-Ishai, campaign coordinator for Public Citizen’s Commercial Alert project, “In-school advertising and marketing schemes convey market rather than civic values and impede the ability of schools to function as open spaces where ideas are freely exchanged and the next generation of public-minded, conscientious and virtuous students can grow.”
Proposed guidelines for schools to evaluate those who wish to purchase naming rights are insufficient, offering virtually no protection to students, the letter said. For example, district guidelines have not prevented companies from selling fast food, soda and other unhealthful products from advertising on school properties.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.