Dec. 19, 2011
In-School Advertising Is the Wrong Way to Raise Revenue for Rochester Public Schools
Letter Describes Advertising’s Harmful Effects on Developing Children
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rochester Public School Board should not move forward with plans to sell advertising on school sites and naming rights to district assets, Public Citizen said in a letter sent today to the school board.
Pursuing this path would raise little revenue and undermine Rochester Public Schools’ 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 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.”
Although the school board voted recently to ban advertising in the classrooms, it senselessly allows advertising in athletic facilities, auditoriums, hallways or any other facility where such advertising would not “solely be directed at students.” The board also adopted guidelines prohibiting advertising that promotes alcohol, drugs and violence, but even such guidelines cannot ensure that students would be protected from harmful advertising, the letter said.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.