As we went to press, the Seattle School Board was getting ready to vote on a policy that will prohibit advertising directed at students. The policy would eliminate the brand-name faceplate on vending machines for new soda contracts, phase out Channel One (a daily 12-minute television program with two minutes of ads, shown during class time) over three years, and forbid advertising on school property or on items distributed to students. But a parents' group thinks the policy should be stronger--they say Channel One should be pulled immediately and the limit on advertising should be more explicit. They told The Stranger they'd be at the November 21 meeting, advocating for amendments.

For example, the policy allows individual school administrators to have the final say on what constitutes commercialism, by deciding which logos are allowed: An administrator could decide that a Starbucks logo on a corporate-donated bookmark is not advertising.

"The policy as written has a few serious loopholes," says Brita Butler-Wall, executive director of Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools (CCCS).

"Our group is not saying they have to start filing the logos off the fronts of TVs. We're talking about logos that identify corporate sponsors," Butler-Wall says. CCCS would like these logos to be prohibited.

Additionally, CCCS would like to see Channel One pulled from schools immediately. "It's an indefensible use of class time," Butler-Wall says.

CCCS found an ally in School Board Member Michael Preston. In the grand finale of his 20-year school board tenure, Preston, who lost a city council race against Richard Conlin on November 6, proposed amendments to strengthen the policy. Preston's long-shot amendments called for immediately changing the fronts of soda machines and pulling the plug on Channel One, plus banning logos unless they are inherent to a product. For example, a can of Coke could keep its logo, but a Nike athletic uniform wouldn't automatically call for a "swoosh" design.

amy@thestranger.com

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