Facing a budget crisis, Jeb Harrison wasn't sure where he'd find the money to buy supplies for his economics class at Pocatello High School in Idaho.
So he decided to sell advertising to a pizza parlor. The New York Times reports that he approached Dan McIsaac, the owner of Molto Caldo Pizzeria and offered him this deal: "If Mr. McIsaac paid about $315 for 10,000 sheets of paper for Mr. Harrison's classes, more than a year's supply, the pizzeria could run an advertisement across the bottom of every sheet handed out in class."
So far the deal has worked out well for both parties: Mr. Harrison has paper for his class, and business has ticked up at Molto Caldo.
So far no one has complained, and Mr. Harrison should certainly be commended for his ingenuity.
But I'm still not entirely comfortable with this plan: Parents should be able to send their kids to school without having them subjected to advertising pushed in front of them by their teachers. High schools have a captive audience -- students are legally required to attend -- and it just seems unfair to use that as an opportunity to ram ad campaigns into people's heads. Groups like Campaign For a Commercial-Free Childhood have exposed the dangers of pummeling students with advertising but in this economy, desperate schools will probably continue to abandon principles in the pursuit of a quick buck.
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