Commercial-Free Massachusetts Schools?

ACT NOW!

These are just some of the ways that companies market to children in schools, as they seek to promote their brands to a captive audience of students:

  • Channel One
  • BusRadio
  • Corporate-sponsored teaching materials
  • Advertising in hallways, cafeterias, gymnasiums and even on textbook covers

In 2000, a government report identified marketing to schools as a growth industry. But here in Massachusetts, that could change.

On Wednesday, May 30, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a hearing on House Bill 489, “An Act Relative to the Public Health Impact of Commercialism in Schools.” This legislation, sponsored by Representative Peter Koutoujian, would prohibit all advertising and marketing on school grounds or on property that is owned or leased by a public school. It is strongest bill on school commercialism in the country.

What you can do:

It is important the Committee hear from as many Massachusetts residents as possible before or at next Wednesday’s hearing. The hearing will take place at the State House at 10:00 AM in Room 1-A. If you are interested in attending, please email jgolin@jbcc.harvard.edu.

If you are unable to attend, please take a moment to write in support of this crucial legislation. Letters of support should be sent to Jennifer Infurna (Jennifer.Infurna@state.ma.us) with a copy to CCFC (ccfc@jbcc.harvard.edu) and should be submitted by Tuesday, May 30.

Here are some tips:

  1. Be sure to reference House Bill 489 in both the subject line of your email and in your actual testimony.
  2. If you are a parent, or if you work with children, be sure to include that information.
  3. Let the Committee know about any concerns you have about commercialism in the schools. The more specific examples you can cite, the better. If you’ve ever felt frustrated because you were unable to stop a commercial venture or marketing in your children schools, please describe that experience.

If you have any questions, contact:

Josh Golin
Program Manager
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
www.commercialfreechildhood.org
jgolin@jbcc.harvard.edu

1 Comment

  1. September 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Update from CCFC about BusRadio:

    Thanks to you, when children across the country ride school buses today, they won’t be subjected to specially designed student-targeted ads for Barbie and Cingular Wireless or entreaties to spend their after-school hours watching TV and playing videogames. After CCFC’s three-year campaign. BusRadio – the company that planned to “take targeted student marketing to the next level” – ceased operations yesterday. BusRadio hoped to play its commercialized broadcasts for a captive audience of students on buses around the country, but CCFC and our network of parent activists opposed the company at every turn.

    Ending BusRadio is a tremendous victory for families and the growing movement to protect children from exploitative marketing. No child should be forced to listen to ads on their way to and from school. That’s why CCFC:

    * Demonstrated at Sigma Partners, the venture capital firm behind BusRadio, to call attention to BusRadio’s egregious marketing.
    * Monitored (along with our friends at Obligation, Inc.) BusRadio’s content and advertising-and shared our findings with parents, school administrators and the media.
    * Lobbied successfully for a state-wide ban on school bus advertising in South Carolina.
    * Organized parents to lobby their school boards. CCFC members were instrumental in stopping BusRadio in school districts around the country, including large busing districts such as Montgomery County, Maryland and Louisville, Kentucky.

    A report issued this month by the Federal Communications Commission was the final straw. CCFC requested the report and, thanks to the efforts of Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), it was included in this year’s Omnibus spending bill. More than 1,000 of you submitted comments to the FCC about BusRadio and the final report reflected your concerns: The FCC criticized BusRadio for its advertising practices and for undermining parents’ ability to limit their children’s exposure to undesirable content. CCFC members shared the report with their local school boards–and schools across the country pledged not to sign up.

    BusRadio severely underestimated parents’ determination to keep advertisers off of school buses. And now, thanks to all of our efforts, parents no longer have to worry about their children being bombarded by student-targeted advertising on school buses.

    Thanks for all you do to make childhood what it should be,

    Susan Linn Josh Golin
    Director Associate Director


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