September 10th, 2008

SC Board of Education Bans School Bus Ads

By Robert Kittle
News Channel 7 (South Carolina)

It started as an idea for school districts to make money for their bus fleets in a time of rising fuel prices and dwindling budgets. Districts would be allowed to sell space on the inside of their school buses for printed ads to be placed above the windows.

But the state Board of Education voted Wednesday to ban ads on school buses.

“What we envisioned were ads for careers, ads for technical colleges and four-year universities who were trying to attract students to careers beyond high school,” says state Department of Education spokesman Jim Foster.

But some parents and lawmakers, including Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, objected to the idea. He introduced a bill during this year’s legislative session to ban school bus ads, but it didn’t pass. He applauded the board’s action.

“This action prevents for-profit companies from forcing children to hear or view advertising harmful to them or objectionable to their parents, and I join thousands of parents in thanking them,” Sen. Ryberg said in a written news release after the vote.

But Foster says children were never in danger of seeing objectionable ads. “Advertisements for products that were unhealthy for students were specifically prohibited in this plan. And also, the district had the flexibility to deny any ad that it wanted at any point,” he told News Channel 7. “But today, the state Board of Education made clear that they didn’t want ads in any forms on these buses, so the issue is resolved.”

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