School Chief Fires Back at Philip Morris
When tobacco giant Philip Morris shipped hundreds of boxes of multicolored glossy textbook covers to Hayward schools late last month, interim Superintendent Cynthia Le Blanc shipped them right back, c.o.d., with a "No thank you" note.
"I believe these to be an affront to Hayward's vigorous anti-smoking and anti-drug campaign," she said.
Philip Morris Companies Inc. is the world's largest tobacco purveyor, and through its subsidiary, Miller Brewing Co., is the nation's second-largest seller of beer -- two consumer products Le Blanc doesn't want teenagers advertising from their school desks.
In her letter to Michael Szymanczyk, Phillip Morris' U.S.A. president and chief executive officer, Le Blanc called upon the company to recall all book covers sent to the nation's schools.
She admonished the company for sending the covers without notifying her district or asking for approval. She reminded the tobacco company that they are required to promote an anti-smoking campaign aimed at teenagers, according to the Master Settlement Agreement reached in November 1998 with the attorneys general of 48 states.
Perhaps she knows so much because she was recently appointed to treasurer of the American Cancer Society's California section.
"We can certainly use donated book covers to protect our new textbooks," she said. -- -- --