Ads in Schools: How Far is Too Far?

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Brothers — and Minnesota Viking players — E.J. and Erin Henderson graduated from Aberdeen High School in Harford County. When they heard that their alma mater’s scoreboard was outdated and difficult to read, the brothers offered $20,000 toward the cost of a new one. The only catch? They wanted their name displayed on the new scoreboard. But Harford County has a policies limiting ads in schools, and strictly regulating the naming rights of athletic facilities — so they rejected the donation. “It’s like a slap in the face, honestly,” Erin Henderson said.

Meanwhile, a Colorado school district raised $90,000 by selling ads at the bottom of elementary school report cards (albeit ads for an education non-profit). The district is one of several nationwide that has sold ad space on school buses. A Pennsylvania school district will earn $424,000 when it plasters ads across walls, floors, lockers, benches, and cafeteria tables. And one enterprising teacher sold ad space on his tests and handouts to a local pizza shop.

So, what’s your take on ads in schools — a savvy way to make up budget shortfalls, or a slippery slope in an increasingly commercialized culture?



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