Parents of current and future students of Eagle Valley Middle School will be given a chance Monday night to discuss the merits of incorporating commercial television in the classroom.
The meeting comes months after Eagle Valley Middle School signed a three-year contract and became the first school in Nevada to air the Channel One Network.
The channel airs a 12-minute current affairs show daily. The school's 32 televisions, satellite dish and wiring were paid for by Channel One.
The controversy is the two minutes of commercials that air between the news segments that are geared specifically to middle-school age students.
Critics, like the Center for Commercial Free Public Education, argue the commercials take advantage of a captive audience and is a money-spinner for Channel One under the guise of a news show.
The meeting was called after Carson School District trustees suggested that Principal Joanie Burris tell parents about the Channel One, said Betsy Wooldridge, a member of Eagle Valley Middle School Parent Teacher Student Association.
Monday night is an information session, but Wooldridge said she was troubled by injecting commercialism into schools.
"Two minutes (of commercials) a day can add up," she said. "And this is a multi-million dollar corporation taking away our education time."
Ericsson and AT&T donating cellular phones to the school district is the perfect example of a public-private partnership, not Channel One, Wooldridge said.
"After all, the children aren't pulled out of class to look at the phones," she said.
Another opponent is Carson City School Board Trustee Jean Kvam.
"I don't like it. I don't like ads in schools," she said. "I would like it pulled out."
Eagle Valley Middle School Principal Joanie Burris defended the program as a means to incorporate not only current affairs but technology into the school, both of which were lacking.
"We're encouraged to develop public and private partnerships. Technology is expensive and these partnerships are the only way we can keep up," Burris said in a prior interview about Channel One.