Lehigh Valley school district to fill budget gap with ads inside school buses

    Ready for your child’s school bus to be brought to you by Coca-Cola?

    That’s a prospect parents in Lehigh Valley’s Parkland School District may soon face.

    Parkland’s school board announced this week that the district hopes to raise some dough to fill a budget gap by selling ad space inside their K-12 school buses.

    Lan Chaplin is a marketing professor at Villanova University who specializes in the consumer habits of children and teens. She sees the Parkland plan as fraught with issues.

    “If ads are going to be placed on school buses, then parents and educators need to find ways to teach these kids about what the ads really mean and what they’re trying to do. At a young age, they think it’s just like a show, entertainment, then as they grow older, they start understanding that they’re telling me: ‘That’s a product that I can buy.  But they don’t understand that the ads could possibly be lying to them.”

    Before being posted, all ads would first have to be approved by a 10-person panel, made up of district officials and one parent. Ads related to tobacco, alcohol and politics would be automatically barred.

    The district estimates that the advertising will raise $150,000 in its first year.

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