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Promoting Consumption at School: Health Threats Associated with Schoolhouse Commercialism

Beleaguered educators are ever more open to offers of corporate “partnerships” that might bring in additional money for their schools. However, many school-business partnerships are little more than marketing arrangements that have few benefits for schools while carrying with them the potential to harm children in a variety of ways. The 2011-2012 Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercializing Trends, the third in a series of annual reports to examine how commercializing activities in schools threaten children’s well-being, examines the health threats posed by the marketing of food and beverage products in school. The report's authors conclude that potential threat to children posed by marketing in schools is great enough that the default assumption for schools, districts, and state and federal policymakers must be that marketing in schools is harmful unless explicitly proven otherwise. They recommend that policymakers prohibit advertising in schools unless the school provides compelling evidence that their intended advertising program causes no harm to children.