Toronto board says no to school videos with ads

The Toronto District School Board has voted against a proposal to install digital video screens featuring artwork, announcements and some advertising at more than 70 schools.

School videos with ads?

11 years ago
Duration 2:57
The Toronto District School Board is considering putting TV screens with some advertising in schools. Genevieve Tomney reports

The Toronto District School Board has voted against a proposal to install more digital video screens that feature artwork, announcements and some advertising in schools.

The video screens have already been installed by a private company in a pilot program at four high schools, and the board voted Wednesday evening not to introduce them to 70 more this month.

The four high schools where the screens have been installed will now lose them.

Announcements, exam information, weather, even how much time is remaining until the next class are displayed on the screens. But about 30 per cent of the time is reserved for advertising, which the school board estimated could generate an extra $100,000 a year.

The screens would only show "non-commercial" spots from places like universities, governments and the milk marketing board, said TDSB chair Chris Bolton, who was in favour of the proposal.

"Is 'drink milk' something we don't want to tell our kids?" he said.

'Bombarded with advertising'

But Jenny Williams, a Grade 11 student representative on the school board, said many students are against advertising of any kind in schools.

"Students are feeling as though they are going to be bombarded with advertising from various companies and that school will no longer be a 'safe zone' for them," she said.

Trustee Michael Coteau was against the proposal.

"Selling a [captive] audience — our students — in an attempt to generate revenue, and I think that's a little bit worrisome," he said.

Bolton said critics' concerns are overblown.

"I'm not quite sure what [opponents] are thinking. It's almost like a knee-jerk reaction as soon as one mentions advertising," he said.