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Seattle parents buy an ad to protest adsSeptember 7, 2012 @ 2:09 am (Updated: 9:37 am - 9/7/12 )
Some parents and teachers are upset with the Seattle School District's new calendar. It's not the cost of the full-color calendar, which was mailed to the homes of almost 55,000 students and staff. It's the advertising they don't like.
Seattle Public Schools calendar and family guide for the 2012-2013 school year is more visually interesting than calendars in the past, and includes more information such as phone numbers for the district's nearly 100 schools. The same information is available online. In the digital age, is there still a value to printing and mailing paper calendars?
In June, the school board voted to overturn a decade-old policy against commercial advertising. The district calendar features ads for Allstate Insurance, Comcast, driving schools, and the Stevens Pass ski area promoting their "5th graders ski free in February" program.
There's also a small ad a group of citizens took out. They chipped in donations to cover the $1500 cost of a one-eighth page "protest ad."
The advertisement (left) asks families to contact the board and urge them to once again ban commercial advertising with the calendars and in schools.
"In my 29 years of teaching in Seattle, this is the first time I will not be hanging the calendar in my classroom," says second grade teacher Robert Femiano in a statement.
"I do not want students subconsciously thinking their teacher approves these products," he continues. "In my opinion, this subliminal coercion crosses the line of ethical behavior."
"Ads in schools create more problems than they solve. Education depends on the integrity of the educator. Allowing ads is a net loss," says Brita Butler Wall, past president of the Seattle School Board.
Other opponents say the board is selling access to students, and indirectly endorsing products.
Revenue earned from calendar sponsorship defrays the production costs. Without this money, the district says it would eventually have to stop publishing the calendar.
The costs Seattle Schools about $28,000 to print and $12,000 to mail the calendars.
By LINDA THOMAS
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