No big screen advertising at school

No big screen advertising at school

globaltoronto.com 10.03.11 TORONTO – Toronto school trustees voted Wednesday night against

a proposal to extend the use of video screens in high schools, a plan that would have included

advertising on the monitors. The screens have been in place, without ads, in four downtown

schools in a pilot test for the past year. They have been running student generated videos

and messages of general interest. The proposal was to expand the program to 70 schools, and

have the screens run advertising one-third of the time.

Schools would receive $1,300 per year for allowing the ads.

A number of trustees opposed the plan saying students don’t go to school to watch advertising

while other trustees say they will try and bring back the proposal in the future.

Pre-vote background:

cbc.ca09.03.11 The Toronto District School Board is set to vote on a proposal to fully

institute apilot program allowing digital video screens featuring artwork, announcements

and some advertising at more than 90 schools.

The video screens have already been installed at four high schools,  and the board will vote 

Wednesday evening on whether to introduce  them to 70 more this month. Another 20 would get

them next year. Announcements, exam information, even how much time is remaining  until the

next class are displayed on the screens. But about  30 per cent of the time is reserved for

advertising, which the school board estimates could generate an extra $100,000 a year.

The screens will only show “non-commercial” spots from places like  universities, governments

and the milk marketing board, said TDSB  chair Chris Bolton, who is in favour of the proposal.

“Is ‘drink milk’ something we don’t want to tell our kids?” he said.

‘Bombarded with advertising’

But Jenny Williams, a Grade 11 student representative on the school board, said many students

are against advertising of any kind in schools. “Students are feeling as though they are going

to be bombarded with  advertising from various companies and that school will no longer be a

‘safe zone’ for them,” she said. Trustee Michael Coteau said the board is also against the

proposal. “Selling a [captive] audience — our students — in an attempt to  generate revenue,

and I think that’s a little bit worrisome,” he said. Bolton said critics’ concerns are

overblown.

Stop big screen media- urge school workers

Dear[TDSB] Trustee,

On behalf of the leadership of Local 4400, I urge you NOT to continue with the Big Screen “One Stop Media Group” program.

The project screams “thin edge of the wedge” in terms of bringing corporate culture and advertising one step closer to our schools, something many of us have been fighting for years and years.

Trying to ensure that no commercial advertising is admirable, but ignores the fact that once a good deal of money has been invested, the pressure will mount.  After all, most adults don’t believe that one really gets “something for nothing” these days.

While intentions may be pure today, the ongoing lack of funding will make opening up (just a little) very attractive.  It’s like the story of the boiling frog which didn’t jump out of the water as it gently became hotter and hotter until it was too late.

Please vote NO.

Katie McGovern
Recording & Corresponding Secretary
CUPE 4400 – Toronto Education Workers