|February 26, 2012: (!) Help Stop Current Commercial Assault on School Kids|
* From The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC):
-- [Students] refer to themselves as the Chick-fil-A bus, for example. It’s a little identity for them.” - Timothy Wysong, Transportation Director, Eanes, Texas Independent School District --
Help us stop the latest commercial assault on school children.
Until now, most states prohibited school bus advertising - in fact, only nine states allow it. But faced with unprecedented budget shortfalls, many states and school districts are considering what was once unthinkable: selling ads on the outside and interiors of school buses. Around the country, long-standing laws protecting students from school bus ads may be overturned. If passed, new legislation would transform school buses from Rhode Island to Washington into traveling billboards for everything from fast food to violent and sexualized media.
We’re proud that CCFC members have been instrumental in defeating school bus ad legislation in most states where bills were proposed. But many bills have been reintroduced and are up for consideration in current legislative sessions. Please visit our School Bus Ad Action Center and help stop this commercial escalation. And if your state isn’t currently considering school bus ads, please forward this to friends and family living in states that are.
We at CCFC are enormously concerned about the financial plight of schools. But commercializing children’s education is not the answer.
- Advertising on school buses exploits a captive audience of students and undermines parents who wish to shield their children from commercial influences.
- It also undermines the educational process. Anything advertised on a school bus will have that school’s implicit endorsement - regardless of its potential harm to children.
- All of the proposed legislation would prohibit products such as alcohol and tobacco from being advertised, but junk food and other harmful products would still be allowed.
- And if schools refuse advertisers they deem inappropriate for their buses, they could be subject to costly First Amendment challenges.
Schools shouldn’t sell students out for any price, but it’s worth noting that allowing advertising on buses won’t even make a dent in schools’ deficits. In Colorado Springs, which has 29,000 students, school bus advertising only generates $40,000 annually. Last year, Sumner County, Tennessee earned $28,000 from bus advertising - in a district with an annual budget of $180 million. Plano, Texas and Ypsilanti, Michigan dumped their school bus ad programs when they did not generate enough revenue.
* “Children are living, talking records of what we tell them every day.” And in due course, these living, talking records of television commercials will grow up, earn money and buy the products of industry. “Think,”, writes Mr. Clyde Miller (…), “Think of what it can mean to your firm in profits if you can condition a million or ten million children, who will grow up into adults trained to buy your product, as soldiers are trained in advance when they hear the trigger words, ‘Forward March!” Yes, just think of it! And at the same time remember that the dictators and the would-be dictators have been thinking about this sort of thing for years, and that millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions of children are in process of growing up to buy the local despot’s ideological product and, like well-trained soldiers, to respond with appropriate behavior to trigger words implanted in those young minds by the despot’s propagandists. […] The scientific dictator of tomorrow will set up his whispering machines and subliminal projectors in schools and hospitals (children and the sick are highly suggestible) and in all public places where audiences can be given a preliminary softening up by suggestibility-increasing oratory or rituals.”
[Aldous Leonard Huxley, English writer, satirist (1958)]