3rd Graders Join Effort To Remove Controversial I95 Billboard - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

3rd Graders Join Effort To Remove Controversial Billboard Along I-95

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On January 16, this billboard promoting ArrangementFinders.com was installed along northbound I-95 at the Allegheny Ave. exit. On January 16, this billboard promoting ArrangementFinders.com was installed along northbound I-95 at the Allegheny Ave. exit.
Third graders at St. George Catholic School are hoping their state representative pressures the company to remove the billboard. Third graders at St. George Catholic School are hoping their state representative pressures the company to remove the billboard.
PHILADELPHIA -

Children in Philadelphia's Port Richmond neighborhood have joined the fight to remove a controversial billboard that they believe sends the wrong message about their community.

"I say, take it down, because that is very offensive," third grader Donald "Dusty" Grauber told Fox 29s Bruce Gordon at the St. George Catholic School, not far from the billboard.

On January 16, the huge sign- promoting ArrangementFinders.com- went up just off northbound I-95 at the Allegheny Ave. exit.

The Toronto-based online dating site caters to older men looking for younger women for what the site calls "mutually beneficial arrangements."

If the man happens to be married?

No problem.

That may be why the sign sports the Biblical Commandment "Though Shall Not Commit Adultery," with the word "not" crossed out.

Third grade teacher Rita Ann Ezzai asked her kids, "How can you raise the standards in your own community?" as she led them in a letter writing campaign to push for removal of the billboard.

The kids at the school are learning about the 10 Commandments this week, and, with "Number Six" under assault, the 8- and 9-year olds are asking their state representative, John Taylor, to pressure the company.

"I don't really think it's okay at all," said Molly Curran of the billboard, "because it's kind of like telling kids and adults and everyone that it's okay to commit adultery."

Classmate Olivia Higgins-Cassel agrees, "because little kids are just learning about the Ten Commandments and it's telling them when you grow up it's okay to cheat on your husband or wife."

Miss Ezzai knows it's an uphill battle, free speech and all, but believes you're never too young to fight for your neighborhood.

"These children have a right to live in a community that is safe, that is morally up to our standards," Ezzai told Gordon, "and we don't want it here. And we want them to know that it's not welcome in our community and we would like it taken down."

Reached by Gordon, State Rep. Taylor agreed the billboard is "pretty offensive," and vowed to use all legitimate means to pressure the company to remove it.

Good luck.

An ArrangementFinders.com spokesman tells Gordon the billboard is not actually within the neighborhood, and that the company is doing nothing wrong.

All the publicity generated by the controversy, he says, has actually brought the dating site lots of new customers.

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