Can Advertising Alieviate Our Strain?

Bucks County’s Pennsbury School District is allowing marketers to place advertisements inside their schools for profit. Subjecting students to advertising inside of schools in order to make money is ethically wrong.

Schools are supposed to act as the conduit between students and their success. However, in hopes to alleviate their budget crunch, the Pennsbury School District is allowing itself to act as the conduit between companies and students who could become customers of the companies behind the advertising.

Once again, major cuts to public education leave districts to fend for themselves and districts are now wading into the waters of business to stay afloat.

“It’s imperative we find alternate means to preserve our programs,” Assistant Superintendent W. David Bowman told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Why is it that school districts are forced to make up for such deep budget cuts? On the surface it seems like an innocent trade-off. Schools give companies access to their students in exchange for much needed funding (a possible annual income of $425,000 according to a recent article from AllGov.com). There are clearly outlined advertising guidelines: the advertisements must relate to health, education, nutrition, or school safety. Some would ask, where’s the harm?

But regardless of Pennsbury’s guidelines that prohibit direct product advertising, the presence of a brand name or it’s image is inappropriate inside of schools. Once you become associated to a brand or its name you are more likely to purchase their products. It’s bad enough students are subject to enough product bombardment in most facets of life, could we at least keep schools an ad free environment?

Another striking question is how far is $425,000 going to stretch when the budget keeps getting cut? If budget cuts become worse, districts will once again have to dig themselves out of the hole.

As districts get more desperate, will schools lift the advertisement firewall that mandates the ads must be related to health, education, nutrition, or school safety? That’s the million dollar question; would districts allow more direct product advertising in the event they needed more funding and could get it from marketers? Is this the beginning of a slippery slope towards treating students as consumers?

While I firmly don’t agree with allowing advertisers into schools, I can certainly understand why districts are making this choice. Districts like Bucks County’s Pennsbury School District are just trying to get what they need for students to achieve.

At the end of the day, they are trying their best to fight an uphill battle against budgets that often don’t have the best interests of students, parents, and teachers in mind.


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