Ads in Schools: Your Thoughts | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

February 24, 2012

Ads in Schools: Your Thoughts

The following news piece is about my home school district (and the school featured in the video is my alma mater - GO WARRIORS!).  The West Chester Area School District is considering placing advertisements in the school (gymnasium, cafeteria, school menus, etc) in hopes of creating revenue to make up for a large budget shortfall.  I won't go into the more intimate issues of WHY there is a budget shortfall, but there is need of cash-flow in the district.

Here is the local news piece on the story:

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So it begs the question: is it right?

I'm not sure how I feel about it.

On one hand, I want the district to make up for their budget shortfall. Mainly because I care about the students. I do not want them to be affected, with larger class sizes (if teachers had to be let go), overworked teachers with a crappy contract, and program cuts. There is already talk of Pay-to-Play, which requires students of the district to pay a fee to play sports or participate in extra-curricular activities. 

On the other, I struggle with the idea of placing advertisements in a public place that kids are required to go to.  Kids have no choice about going to school. And kids are impressionable, especially younger children who do not have the faculties to process the subliminal messages of advertising.    Sure, advertising is everywhere: billboards you drive past, commercials on TV.  But these things are optional: if we felt strongly enough, we could avoid driving past the billboards. We could throw away the magazines.  We could turn off the television.  But we can't avoid kids going to school.

Media effects children.  Advertising effects children. Especially when they have no choice in the matter.

I believe if the WCASD goes through with advertising in school, they will choose ads that are appropriate, educational, and the like.  And I do not want kids to be affected adversely due to the district's financial hardships.  While I believe we have to find a solution to the district's budget, I believe we also need to ask ourselves what is the greater good in the situation? What are we compromising?

What are your thoughts on advertising in school?  


  1. I agree, Stephanie. It seems like an easy way to increase revenue for the school district, but there may be some unintentional consequences that are not beneficial to our children. Personally, I'd rather see artwork and projects generated by the students on the walls of our schools.Unfortunately, they are still going to charge activity fees at all grade levels no matter what.

  2. This is a difficult one! There's a clear need for ways to make up for budget shortfalls. My brother has coached for the last 6 years & I've heard from him the strain of budget cuts on school sports. With three children, I've served on PTO boards & have seen firsthand the desperate budget requests submitted by teachers. While my initial reaction to advertising in schools was negative, I think it would be unwise to dismiss it as an option. My youngest son plays soccer and his uniform is covered by sponsors. This is a form of advertising. While children are definitely influenced by advertising, there is some comfort in that these are print ads with no catchy jingles to seduce them. Children may go home & request specific brands they see in ads at their schools, but the younger children have no funds of their own & this may even open dialog w/parents a/b marketing, etc. In my children's district, schools have "Pencil Partners" - local companies who "sponsor" specific schools. Their names are printed in the yearbook, school function programs, on the school website, etc. This isn't exactly an ad in the school cafeteria, but it does create a feeling of "loyalty" among parents to give those companies who support our schools our business. It's a challenging topic - you don't want to sell your students' souls to raise a dollar, but you also don't want them to be denied new educational technology or be lost in an overcrowded classroom b/c we weren't willing to think outside the box.


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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