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Letter: Ads on school buses pose harm to children

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

To the editor:

As I am sitting here reading “Legislation would allow ads on school buses” (March 4) on the proposed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Miller, R-District 32.

I can’t help but wonder what the future will be like in 25 years. If we, the public, would look back 25 years into our past, we would see the beginning of today’s growing number of epidemics that plague our children in today’s society.

Childhood obesity was just beginning to be discovered, studied more closely and spoken about in medical circles.

The cause of this growing problem was as of then undiagnosed. After about 15 years of study by some of the world’s leading medical authorities and medical facilities, a conclusion was reached.

We — the public and more specifically our children — were the targets of specific advertising. The powers that be were using the airwaves, radio and TV, as well as the printed page media to tempt us with delicious, mouth-watering, delectable goodies.

At the same time, those same mystical powers were neglecting to tell us (the public) that eating these advertised delicacies in large quantities or on a daily schedule would cause weight gain of a very substantial nature.

Who among us would have ever dreamed that by eating a “super-sized” meal along with drinking a “super-sized” soft drink would be bad for our health.

The advertisements on TV were so mouth-watering, the photos in the print media looked good enough to eat. How could anything so wonderful and so beautiful be bad for us?

Well folks, today we are 25 years this side of back then. I really do not believe for one moment that anyone with a straight face can continue saying we do not have a problem because of the specifically directed advertisements back then.

Now, I am reading that Sen. Miller is sponsoring legislation that will allow school buses to become moving advertisements that travel through our neighborhood multiple times per day. Why? In the name of money, or specifically, the shortage of it.

Once again, it seems that our elected officials have decided that they — not the school systems themselves — can make things better.

Once again, returning to the not-that-distant past, we see that indeed it was our own legislators that created the issue for the school systems to begin with.

Now, instead of tackling a hard problem that would create ill feelings for many voters, thereby putting the legislator’s re-election on the line, they want to take an easier route.

Sen. Miller is quoted in the article as stating, “There is no interest by the public to do anything about raising property taxes.”

Her statement is a partial truth; there is interest out here — the public asked for but did not receive a fair and just remedy on the property tax issue. If you wish to call that this is because of partisan politics or “party line” politics, fine; just don’t say that the public has “no interest” in this issue, that is not correct.

The proponents of this legislation may count among their membership the lobbyists for the soft-drink industry, lobbyists from the advertising agencies, lobbyists from the candy and fast food industry — oh, and yes — administration members of the cash-strapped schools. Strange bedfellows, if you ask me.

The arguments for this legislation are as compelling as any others printed; the school systems desiring to get in on this have “done their homework” and can foresee many thousands of dollars pouring into their coffers from allowing it on their vehicles.

Ironically, the single argument that was quoted in the March 4 article is concerning safety; stating that drivers are “not going to be paying attention” when reading the advertisement on the bus.

Suggesting that the children riding the bus or getting on/off the bus may be endangered by that distracted driver.

To myself and a lot of other folks out here, the true danger for our children here is once again specifically targeted advertisements, only this time they won’t be on TV, in a comic book, on a computer or in a movie theater. No, this time our children will be riding inside of them; every day to and from school.

I may not be around here in the year 2039; however, if I am, I think I will write another letter to the editor, and we will look this article over once again.

David A. Fishel


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