Marshall County High School is removing gun-related advertising from a multimedia screen after a student noticed an ad for a Murray firearm business on the display.
Photos taken by a student and posted on social media Wednesday showed a multimedia screen in the gymnasium displaying an ad for FirstChoice FireArms.
Administrators said the screen is owned by Tanager Productions, which does not pay the school for space to display its ads, and the school does not pay Tanager. The screen also runs some school announcements.
Jeff Prater, general manger of the Benton-based ad business, said he has 270-plus TVs across western Kentucky and Tennessee, and ads are usually excluded based on keywords requested by the location displaying them.
Prater said all the ads submitted to the company are reviewed, and the company doesn't approve any ads for adult material based on a "morality" clause.
He said the initial agreement with Marshall County High School, which was instituted years ago, didn't preclude gun-related advertisements, and the agreement likely hasn't been updated since well before the Jan. 23, 2018, shooting.
"I am going to revisit it," he said of the policy.
School Superintendent Trent Lovett, who was attending a school safety conference Wednesday, said the administration immediately addressed the complaint once they were notified of the ad.
"When somebody brought it to our attention, (administrators) immediately unplugged the TV and called the company," Lovett said.
Lovett added it's conceivable the gun shop ads have been running continually, but he never noticed them, and hadn't heard any complaints about them until Wednesday.
"Do I think that's inappropriate in a school? Yes, especially considering what's taken place," Lovett said.
He said the school plans to implement a review process for ads.
Prater estimated that the TV has been in place in the gym for seven or eight years, and said the gun shop isn't a new client, so those or similar ads could have been running for multiple years.
Tracy McKinney, who co-owns FirstChoice FireArms, said he never asked for his ads to be displayed at the high school.
"I don't think any business of any sort should advertise in a school system. The students are there to learn," he said.
He called the inadvertent display "a horrible situation," and said he has a good relationship with the school's shooting teams, and routinely teaches large groups of students about gun safety.
"I don't ever want to pour salt on any wounds or cause any grief," McKinney said.
Prater said that, while some clients intentionally ask to be displayed in certain locations -- formal wear companies asking for school advertising around prom season, for instance -- most advertisers simply ask to be displayed on as many screens as possible.
Lovett said he's not blaming the gun shop or Tanager, but called the situation "a mistake that was made and we've corrected."
"I hate that it happened. If I had known, I would have taken care of it before."