School is supposed to be an educational environment. The one place a child can go and focus on learning and his/her future. We even teach them that it is a safe place where you can trust what you are told. In fact we tell them to listen to the teachers, principals, guidance counselors and coaches. That these people have your best interest at heart. Sometimes that they only come second to your parents some ways. I mean your parents have trusted them with your well being since you were first dropped off at nursery school. In the past the school even had the right to use corporal punishment. Your parents tell you that school plays a major part in your future. What you learn there and how you use it is a determining factor in the quality of life you will have as you grow up. With all that told to you, if you saw a McDonalds or Burger king ad in your school, then you would believe that whatever the ad is selling or saying must be right. We are told only true things are taught in school. Whatever is in your textbook is fact. So whatever is on the school wall must be fact too. They have the “Just Say No to Drugs “posters and you’re told drugs are bad. You pledge allegiance to the flag, and the flag is good because your country is good, right? “MADD “posters are there to tell you that drunk driving is deadly wrong. Posters telling you to go to college because college is important to your future. So if all the things that you see at school are supposed to be good and have your best interest at heart, then that Big Mac must be good for you. That Whopper must be healthy for you just like, “The Presidents Challenge” you take every year in gym class, because it’s there like the presidents poster is. By having these companies in our schools we are sending the message they are good and healthy products. Otherwise why would they be in schools where all the other things we are taught to learn are. How we can send the message that even though it’s in your school, put there by your school, teachers and principals, that it might not be right when these are the same people we are taught for 17 years are to be listened to and respected. It’s hard enough to get the children to learn what we’ve been teaching them for decades, now we want to throw a curveball at them. We take away the credibility and integrity of the institution by letting fast food advertisers in.
The fast food companies want in the schools so that they can push their views and product into children’s minds while they are vulnerable. They may donate money and supplies to the schools but they are not doing it for nothing. If they really wanted to be charitable they would do just that and donate unconditionally. A contract with the school districts is just that, a business arrangement. It really only benefits the two parties making the contract, the school district and the company, not the kids. The kids get caught in crossfire between the district balancing their budget and the company pushing their burger. With any advertisement or sponsorship comes the sponsors influence and point of view. The fast food companies will be influencing the way our children view food and any other view the fast food companies want to portray in their ads. Dee Gill, from The Houston Chronicle writes, “ Corporate sponsors have offered up millions of dollars in equipment—everything from classroom materials to computers—that help keep schools’ cost down. School boards don’t have to cut budgets, parents don’t have to pay more taxes and teachers don’t have to beg to get these much-needed items as often when corporations help. But the escalating involvement of corporations in schools has some educational experts worried. Everyone wins except the child who is subjected to the barrage of propaganda, argues Arnold Fege, director of government relations for the Washington based National Parent-Teacher association. Schools are supposed to be free marketplaces of ideas, Fege says. Corporations have vested interests in promoting their own products or their own point of view. Allowing a corporation to direct the learning process—through filmstrips, curriculum guides or whatever they provide—allows it to further its own agenda through vulnerable children, he says. Even the educational films that so many companies provide for schools can be dangerous propaganda he says. He asks the questions: Do parents want their kids to learn about the environment from oil companies? Do they want children to learn nutrition from fast food vendors? In such cases, he says, those sponsors have reasons to portray the facts with a slant favorable to their industries. ‘If they (corporations) really wanted to further education, they’d pay for it.’ He says. ‘How could you justify distracting kids with this garbage if you were really concerned about educating them better? ‘