Los Angeles Unified School District joins parents, teachers, to end kid-targeted junk food marketing
Los Angeles, CA–Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board adopted a resolution to end McDonald’s McTeacher’s Nights, with reaching implications for all junk food sponsorship within the district.
The resolution comes as millions of parents, educators and health professionals call on junk food corporations to stop kid-targeted marketing. To date, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the National Education Association and more than 50 state and local teachers unions, representing more than 3 million educators nationwide, have demanded junk food corporations stop marketing to children in schools.
“Calling McTeacher’s Nights ‘fundraisers’ just doesn’t hold up—it’s a raw deal for schools and an even worse deal for our students,” said Cecily Myart-Cruz, vice-president of United Teachers Los Angeles. “This should be a wake-up call for corporations like McDonald’s: We’re not going to tolerate them targeting our kids!”
The resolution is a critical step to ending sponsorship by junk food corporations that are in conflict with district policies. In addition, it directs the Superintendent to instruct McDonald’s to stop violating the existing policy through events like McTeacher’s Nights—so-called fundraisers where McDonald’s has teachers “work” behind the counter and serve burgers, fries and soda to their students and their students’ families. Since 2013, more than 700 McTeacher’s Night events have been documented in more than 30 states.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for joining me in taking a comprehensive view of our Good Food Purchasing Policy and how other policies might be in conflict with that. Our Board responsibilities extend well beyond the classroom,” said Steve Zimmer, president of the LAUSD Governing Board and lead sponsor of the resolution. “While I am thankful to the independent McDonald’s operators and business partners for their desire to support our students, I look forward to working with them to support our schools without relying on the labor of our teachers or interest of our families to promote food and other products that are in conflict with existing policies.”
The passage of this resolution protects over 640,000 K-12 students within the Los Angeles school district from junk food sponsorship and builds on a foundation of strong food policy within LAUSD. For instance, LAUSD adopted school sponsorship guidelines that provided the framework for this resolution and enacted the groundbreaking Good Food Purchasing Policy program that sets standards for food within the district to be sustainable, healthy, humane and fairly produced.
Junk food corporations, including McDonald’s, have long exploited schools to target children for decades. For instance, in addition to McTeacher’s Nights, McDonald’s markets directly in schools by sending Ronald McDonald into schools under the guise of physical education and reading programming and even selling branded fast food in school cafeterias.