We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes. -- Fred Rogers.More than seventy-nine years after the 1937 TX School Explosion, it is still too rare to find a school where anyone has primary responsibility to protect children and teachers from environmental hazards or to uphold standards for public health, chemical hygiene, occupational health and safety, and safe occupancy.
Every school and community needs a champion, someone who is the driving force to keep environmental health values alive and to prioritize health and safety in all programs and operations.
BRING THE LESSONS TO YOUR SCHOOL Build community partnerships to take action before people get hurt. Break the silence about hazards and unhealthy conditions in your school.
HEROES understand that when it comes to making decisions that impact children, "no risk is acceptable if it is avoidable."
HEROES are committed to building schools for occupancy by children recognizing that standards, building codes, and guidelines that are based on the average adult male or workplace regulations are not safe for children because children are not little adults.
HEROES serve as a resource and mentor to the school community, setting up in-house systems for community participation, health surveillance, and ongoing hazard identification and control.
HEROES support the rights of parents to be involved in the decisions that affect their children, acknowledging that without informed parents, there will never be enough experts or inspectors to ensure schools are the healthy places and safe havens they are supposed to be.
HEROES educate community members, preparing them to exercise their special rights as parents, employees, patients, students and citizens.
HEROES advocate for precautionary standards and protective measures as active members of building committees, school health advisory councils, site-based management boards, and environmental quality teams that set child safety standards and guidelines for school design, renovation, operations and maintenance, pest-proofing, lab safety, and all activities in and around the school.
Yes, it is painful to threaten the illusion of safety in a school or community and to talk about death and loss. The New London School Explosion survivors did not talk about their painful experiences for more than forty years. Their stories clearly teach us that it is even more painful to live with a tragedy when opportunities to prevent loss were unseen or overlooked.