PETA wants to advertise on Franklin County Public Schools playgrounds in exchange for thousands of free veggie burgers for students.
The animal rights organization sent a letter to Superintendent Harrie Buecker Thursday morning, “offering to provide the district’s students with a free veggie-burger lunch in exchange for advertising space on school teeter-totters,” according to a press release.
But Buecker said Thursday that the Board of Education doesn’t support direct advertising to students. The board must approve any advertising from outside organizations that appears on school property.
“It’s the same reason we don’t want them to see ads for sugared cereals,” Buecker said. “They’re still little, and they may not be mature enough to make those kinds of decisions.”
PETA could submit fliers or handouts, which parents could pick up in the school office or at open house events, she said.
“But not out on the playground where the students are,” she said. “We certainly don’t have any ill will toward PETA, but they need to adhere to the same policy as other organizations.”
The ads show a pudgy-faced kid about to devour a fast-food hamburger beside the phrase “Tot teetering on obesity? Go vegan!” and the PETA logo.
“These ads urge parents and school faculty to encourage children to enjoy healthful vegan meals comprised of nourishing fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains instead of fatty, cholesterol-laden meat and dairy products,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in the letter.
PETA chose Franklin County because Kentucky has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the U.S., the release said.
“Our proposal is a win-win situation for Franklin County Public Schools,” Reiman said.
“Students will get a delicious, healthy, fat- and cholesterol-free meal and a lifesaving message about how unhealthy it is to eat meat. The best thing that people of any age can do for their health, animals and the environment is to go vegan.”
Franklin County lunch lines won’t be serving PETA's veggie burgers either, Buecker said. Schools must abide by the National School Lunch Program guidelines, she said, but vegetarian-friendly items are available.
“We are very restricted on what we can and cannot serve our students during the school days,” she said.
Buecker emphasized that local teachers spend time talking to kids about nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyles.