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:
View more videos at: http://nbcphiladelphia.com.
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?