What’s Next? Red Bull Ads?

First, let me extend my apologies for not posting this past Tuesday.

I experienced a frustrating glitch in the WordPress application that prevented me from being able to log in and work on my next post.

Fortunately, the glitch has been taken care of and shouldn’t occur again.

What follows is what I intended to post last Tuesday.  It is a continuation of my previous two posts concerning corporate sponsorship of schools.  The first post in this series can be found here.

I will begin with Tonya Weathersbee, a columnist for the Florida Times-Union, and then I will follow with my opinion on this whole matter.

Tonya was just questioning whether soft drinks plastered on buses would send a contradictory message on the problem of child obesity.

She continued by saying, “I still don’t relish the idea of ads on school buses or on state trails or greenways.  Kids lives are commercialized too much, and when people hit the trails or greenways, they tend to be looking for an idyllic break from all the clutter that fills their lives.

Someone hiking along the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail looks forward to seeing deer and hawks, not ads for malpractice attorneys.

Yet, if the bus ad legislation passes, we’d do well to remember that it isn’t a testament to anyone’s ingenuity during hard times but rather the culmination of years of skewed priorities.

According to the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, the state, for example, could have more money for education and recreation if it would simply stop giving millions in tax subsidies to corporations that create few new jobs but wind up depriving the state of sorely needed revenue.

Which means that, at some point, citizens must demand that the state become as committed to educating youths and funding its parks and infrastructure as it is to sating corporations.

If not, Florida is bound to descend into a place defined by crass commercialism; a place where no space is safe from slogans or tackiness.

And that would be a shame.”

Here is my take on this issue.

Given that school districts are struggling in this economy, I think it would be foolhardy to turn a blind eye to corporate sponsorship.  After all, that brings the bucks that are sorely needed in practically every district throughout the country, and perhaps all across the globe.

But, I know that you see the multiple problems here.

Who will be allowed to advertise in our schools?  Who will make that determination?  Will the choice of advertisers negatively impact our young people?

These are just a few questions for starters.

I don’t think I would be entirely comfortable walking into my school’s cafeteria and seeing ads for, let’s say, Red Bull, Marlboro, or even Trojan contraceptives.

Where do we draw the line here?

What are your thoughts on this?

Coming Tuesday: I’ve Decided to Become a Volunteer