Toronto

TVs proposed for Toronto schools

The Toronto District School Board says it is looking at the possibility of installing large television screens inside dozens of city schools — but critics say it's not a good idea.

The Toronto District School Board says it is looking at the possibility of installing large television screens inside dozens of city schools — but critics say it's not a good idea.

The screens would allow for "unique content and student engagement opportunities," according to a report put together by school board staff.

Announcements, exam information, even how much time is remaining until the next class would be displayed on the screens. But about 30 per cent of the time would be reserved for advertising. For the hard-pressed school board it could mean an extra $100,000 a year.

But critics see it as a problem. 

"I think educational facilities should be advertisement-free zones," said TDSB trustee Michael Coteau. "We have 14-year-old [children] in secondary schools.  We're here to educate your children, not to suggest which brand is better than the other."

Coteau says the $100,000 isn't much considering the overall size of the budget.  "We're a $2.5-billion school board and it's just a drop in the bucket," he said. 

The seven-year deal would allow schools to showcase student work, as well as use the monitors to display other information. The advertising, according to the proposal, would come from non-commercial sponsors.

The full board will be considering the proposal during next month's meeting.

If it passes, the flat screen televisions could be inside as many as 70 Toronto high schools as early as this September. 

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