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KHB - Commercialism in the Schools

Book: K

Section: School-Community Relations

Title: Commercialism in the Schools

Code: KHB

Status: Active

Adopted: May 29, 1991

Last Revised: August 26, 1992



In order to avoid the exploitation of its students and employees and to discourage the impression that it has endorsed a particular product, service, or viewpoint, the Portland Public Schools will abide by the following policy regarding commercialism in its schools.


            A.        Commercial advertising shall be prohibited in all schools, activity areas, and school publications unless approval is granted by the Committee or Superintendent.  Such approval shall not be granted in the following instances.


1.         No materials used as propaganda for a political, sectarian, religious, or partisan purpose shall be displayed or distributed in schools, on school grounds, or contained as paid advertising in school publications.


2.         Schools will not accept products, services, or advertisements that are biased in regard to sex, race, or ethnic origin or which promote products or services not in keeping with the best physical, mental, and moral welfare of students.  Commercial establishments whose primary source of income is the sale of intoxicating beverages, tobacco substances, controlled drugs, contraceptives, personal hygiene products, or services contrary to school objectives will not be permitted to appear as advertisers in the school or in school publications.  All materials that are considered to be disruptive, libelous, obscene, inflammatory, sexually inappropriate, age inappropriate, or exploitive shall be banned.


  1. Schools shall not sell tickets, collect funds, distribute or display advertising literature to or through students other than for school-sponsored events.


4.         No non-school related fund-raising activities in the schools will be sanctioned unless specifically approved by the Superintendent.  Donations must be entirely voluntary, no quotas may be set, and no pressure may be applied.


  1. Prohibited is the use of staff or student time during the school day for agents or non-school-related business concerns, as well as the selling or promoting within the schools of products or services that are non-school related.  Money-raising by students or staff will be prohibited except for school-related activities or products.  Neither the school system, its individual schools, nor its employees will represent or advocate any commercial interest where promotion occurs during the time or on site of any school activity.


  1. No lists of student or faculty names and addresses shall be released to non-school or non-governmental agencies, except as may be required by law.


7.         Direct sales by outside vendors to students in schools is prohibited with the exception of approved articles in vending machines, foodstuffs distributed through the Food Services Program of the schools, and those articles approved under Article B, Section 1, of this policy.


8.         All gifts shall be banned when ad content overshadows utility of the gift itself.


9.         School facilities (with the exception of the Exposition Building) shall not be used, rented, or leased during the instructional day for any program in which a profit-making business may advertise or sell goods or services directly to students.


            B.        Limited advertising may occur in the following instances with the approval of the School Committee Superintendent.


  1. All contracts with commercial enterprises, providers, the media, non-school-sponsored contests, and tournaments must be approved by the Superintendent and meet the criteria established by the School Committee in this policy.  Contracts with vendors of school-related products (including, but not limited to:  class rings, graduation gowns, class photographs, facility rental, books) must be approved by the Superintendent after having been procured on a competitive bid basis.


  1. The placement of, location of, and use of proceeds from vending machines may be authorized by the Superintendent after consultation with the appropriate principal or director and central office staff.  Expenses for placement, installation, special utility, and maintenance will be borne by the vendor.  Foods must meet minimal nutritional value which is 5% of one of the U.S.R.D.A. per 100 calories.  Schools offering a Type A lunch program will not dispense food from vending machines other than those operated by the Food Services Program until after the last lunch period of the day.  Profits from vending machines may go to the school activity fund or the Food Services Department.


3.         Films, books, utensils, supplies, and other educational materials bearing simple mention of the producing firm may be used when such materials can be justified on the basis of actual educational value.  No such materials may contain slogans, ads, lists of products, or an urge to buy.


4.         Schools may cooperate, at the discretion of the principal, in announcing or furthering the work of non-profit community services, provided such does not involve the collection of monies or impair the educational time or program of the schools.  All announcements made to students concerning plays, lectures, activities, contests, programs, meetings, etc., must be approved by the principal and emanate from his/her office.


5.         School offices and student organizations may vend products on a controlled basis as approved by the principal (banners, chances, pencils, book covers, “t”-shirts, etc.) that benefit the school or school-related organizations.


6.         Limited advertising on extracurricular activity schedules, programs, bulletin boards, and scoreboards may be accepted by the principal with the approval of the Superintendent once the “equal opportunity among competitors” rule has been met.  Permanent sponsors must be secured strictly on a bid basis.  Advertising is “limited” to simple mention of sponsor’s name or logo and all other provisions of this policy must be met.


  1. The school system is frequently requested by individuals, firms, groups, or organizations to be allowed to contribute items, goods, or services for use by a school or its students that contain some form of advertisement.  Such request must meet review by the Superintendent (and School Committee, when the Superintendent deems it necessary).  When such gifts are accepted, they must meet all the foregoing criteria, and while donor may be identified by name or symbol, no list of goods or services, no urge to buy, and no individual items for sale may be identified.  This rule applies to voluntary gifts and services as well as corporate partnerships.


No child, while part of a captive audience in a classroom, shall be subjected to audio or visual advertising of any kind.


When any doubt exists, a disclaimer may accompany use of commercial products and services of paid advertising that such does not constitute an endorsement of those products or services by the Portland Public Schools.


KHB - Commercialism in the Schools.pdf (21 KB)