Every year to mark the anniversary of the March 18, 1937 Texas School Explosion, I salute Healthy Schools Heroes whose extraordinary sense of responsibility and leadership is dedicated to protecting students and staff from chemical hazards and unhealthy school conditions.
The 1937 TX School Explosion was the worst school disaster in American history, a gas explosion that killed more than 300 people, mostly students, just minutes before the end of the day in their new state-of-the-art public school.
One of the lessons of the 1937 TX School Explosion is that those responsible for schools need to be highly qualified for the job of managing complex systems of both buildings and people.
Westborough Public Library, Westborough, MA
Roger Young and Associates, Andover, MA
Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion is dedicated to making March 18 a day to honor the leaders who teach safely and teach safety and to inspire all schools to prioritize the values and technical skills necessary for living safely with 21st century chemicals and technology.
A case study and cautionary tale. This story needs to be part of our national legacy because the flaws that led to the tragic explosion are still too common in many schools today – false economies in school design, building and operations, unheeded warnings and indifference to hazards and precautionary measures.
The Unfinished Legacy As a result of the tragedy, a law was passed to require adding a warning odor to natural gas, thus saving millions of lives all over the world. However, other important recommendations of the 1937 Court of Inquiry are still needed in most 21st century schools -- technically trained administrators for modern school systems, regular inspections and education about hazards, and a comprehensive safety code.
Bring the Lessons of 1937 to Your School