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Seattle Schools Allow More Ads

Ann Dornfeld
06/21/2012

The Seattle School Board voted Wednesday night to loosen its restrictions on advertising in schools. Businesses will now be allowed to advertise in the district's high school sporting venues.

TRANSCRIPT

Advertising has been almost completely banned from Seattle schools since 2004. Recently, the student senate asked the district to add some exceptions to that rule.

The senate wanted more funds for activities, like after–school sports, clubs and school dances. School vending machine sales help pay for those things, but sales are way down since the district banned junk food.

So the student senate backed a proposal to allow advertising on high school sports fields, stadiums, scoreboards and the district calendar. But during public testimony, nearly everyone who spoke about the proposal was against it. Like parent Matt King.

Matt King: "Perhaps the proposal seems rather harmless. After all, it would only allow commercial messages at fields and stadiums and not in classrooms. Can a logo on a scoreboard really affect students' thinking? Advertisers know it will. They're in this for a profit, and they've done the math."

Board member Sharon Peaslee said the board had thought long and hard about allowing more advertising.

Sharon Peaslee: "And I feel that we have reached kind of a very fine midpoint where we will very judiciously allow advertising in certain restricted venues for the purpose of helping our students."

The board voted unanimously to allow ads on high school sports fields and the district calendar, with an amendment that would bar junk food ads.

Roosevelt High School sophomore Grant Price welcomed the vote. He's executive director of the student senate.

Grant Price: "I just think it's a little naive that people believe that schools have control over what high school students purchase and what they see throughout the day, because the fact of the matter is high school students don't spend all or even the majority of their time at school, and they're going to be exposed to advertising either way."

The board said it would review the policy in a year.

I'm Ann Dornfeld, KUOW News.

© Copyright 2012, KUOW

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