March 31, 2013

Read about Healthy School Heroes 2013
Develop a "Safety Bill of Rights" for your school. 
Countdown to National Healthy Schools Day April 30 
  • Parents, educators, and health professionals owe it to children to teach safety and teach safely.
  • Every child has a right to an environmentally safe and healthy home and school.
  • Schools should be role models for environmental safety and environmentally responsible behavior.
  • Everyone has a right to know about unsafe and unhealthy school conditions and to be involved in efforts to create and maintain safe conditions.
Work with parents, students and school staff to make chemical safety part of your school's ongoing security audits and safety plan. See Be Proud to be Proactive  and You can prevent explosions in your school.

More activities: Bring the Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to Your School.

Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and

March 04, 2013

Announcing Healthy Schools Heroes 2013
Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion
Contact: Ellie Goldberg, M.Ed.  617 965-9637

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.
This year’s Healthy Schools Heroes are both widely admired as teachers, consultants and colleagues and respected for their proven ability to help schools achieve excellence in science, pest control, and environmental quality. By example, each Hero is an inspiration to break the silence about school hazards and bring the Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to today’s schools.  

Healthy Schools Heroes 2013

President, Science & Safety Consulting Service
Fayetteville, NC  

A force multiplier” Janet A. Hurley, MPA
 Extension Program Specialist II - School IPM
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service 

Safety is a priority. Like previous Healthy Schools Heroes, their unshakable priority is safety. 

Continuous Improvement. Their websites, newsletters, manuals, workshops and other resources testify to their values as well as their deep understanding of the daily decisions and challenges of managing classrooms, budgets, facility maintenance and operations and community relations. They are tireless in their commitment to giving people the knowledge and competencies to enable them to do a good job and a safe job. 
Partnerships. Each is remarkably gifted in building enduring personal and high value professional relationships in many roles at many levels. They partner with school district administrators, science teachers, parent groups, facility managers and custodians, academic and research institutions and professional organizations. Their approach to training and consulting strengthens multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, and organizational connections. 

Accountability. They also have been instrumental in achieving the public policy and legislative initiatives that provide accountability. Their expert guidance is repeatedly called on to help schools resolve hazardous chemistry lab conditions or pest control problems, to help schools meet codes and regulations, and even win national recognition.
Professional Development. Linda does assessments, training and ongoing professional development to help schools comply with the North Carolina’s Act to Implement Science Safety Measures in the Public Schools. It requires local boards of education to certify that schools are properly equipped with safety equipment and pre-service teachers are properly educated on safety measures. Janet works to promote high quality implementation of the Texas' School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) law. It requires all school districts to have an integrated pest management program (IPM) and a designated IPM Coordinator.  

No one is alone. They listen. They learn. They teach. They care. They keep in touch. No one is alone with a question or a problem because Linda Stroud and Janet Hurley are only a phone call or email away.  

Janet Hurley and Linda Stroud both emphasize the value of face-to-face conversations as the key to their effectiveness and their ongoing satisfaction in their work. They have thousands of grateful admirers who benefit from their inspiring leadership and reap the daily reward of safer children and safer schools.  

Healthy Schools Heroes 2013

Inspiring Nominees. Two additional inspiring professionals deserve special recognition for reaching out as advocates for precautionary action and best practices in schools.

~ 0 ~

Background  The Healthy Schools Hero Award is part of a campaign to make March 18 a day to remember 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.

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 disaster, 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.

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.

For more information contact: Ellie Goldberg,
“A force multiplier”  
Janet A. Hurley, MPA
 Extension Program Specialist II - School IPM,
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

…The most important reason that Janet is a Healthy School Hero is her commitment to school children. She is able to look at the big picture where children are concerned and includes all aspects of children's safety in her programs from asthma to air-quality to safety. As she says during many of our conversations “We do it for the kids.”  -- F.C. "Fudd" Graham  

Janet with Kim Pope, Pesticide Safety Education Specialist at LSU in Baton Rouge. 


Early in Janet Hurley’s working life she was dissatisfied with being a regulator. She wanted to be an educator. She always felt motivated to be proactive, to prevent problems. Janet says she attributes her focus on prevention to the early influence of Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl.

“IPM is often overlooked as a way to increase building health,” says Janet. “Schools typically compartmentalize responsibilities.  IPM teaches people to bring it all back together. IPM isn’t just about not using harsh chemicals. There are multiple benefits to the school.”

In 2001, Janet A. Hurley joined Texas Cooperative Extension to launch the Southwest Technical Resource Center for IPM in Schools and Child Care Facilities. The challenge was enormous. In 2002, regulatory inspections found most schools non compliant.

The first IPM trainings were only 6 hours. Janet couldn’t turn it off.  With her colleagues Don Renchie and Mike Merchant, Janet developed educational materials, manuals, training programs and clinics for School IPM Coordinators and others interested in protecting children.

Janet was the “organizational hub” for the Texas Integrated Pest Management Affiliate for Public Schools. Janet and her colleagues have trained over one-third of the schools in Texas. She has helped schools pass state regulatory inspections and then go on to win awards for School IPM.  She has helped the districts save thousands of dollars by not using pesticides and avoiding costly fines.

Janet never just walks away after a school inspection or training, especially if she is working with a new coordinator. She leaves them with phone numbers of at least three neighbor schools to call, encouraging veterans to help each other.  She travels the state of Texas and other states doing trainings and conferences, yet in spite of her busy schedule, she is always responsive to phone calls and emails.

Janet emphasizes that a key leadership function is professional development. “I am constantly growing and learning from the people I work with and the people I work for, ” she says. “Professional development is helping you to be better at your job.”

She inspires trust and confidence with her openness and honesty. Janet engages people in conversations about competency. That kind of conversation guards against potential process hazards and gets to the kind of information that will help them lead a safety culture. She says, “to verbalize is not to criticize.” She knows that it is the people whose knowledge and competency help them do a good job and a safe job.  

In one school district, after working with a low mid-manger, she realized that she needed to get upper management on board.  

She met with the districts new general manager and took the risk of giving him a list of things to fix. He said, “you’re right." He recognized that the sanitation department was demoralized by the district’s low performance. He appreciated her honesty.  

Janet emphasizes the need to have all kinds of conversations to help people solve problems and make good decisions. Good communication can lead to understanding the source of a problem. She tells about a case when there were cockroaches on a school bus and another time when there were cockroaches in a child’s wheelchair. Good problem solving avoided the unnecessary use of pesticides. She points out a sad failure of communication that led to an incident when cotton defoliating was going on near a school, they didn’t alert the school to turn off the air conditioners.
Janet presenting a US EPA Award to Jeremy Theriot,
 IPM coordinator for the Ascension Parish, LA with  
L. C. 'Fudd' Graham, Ph.D. Alabama Fire Ant Management Program

Read all nominations for Janet Hurley at this LINK
(Packet page numbers in red.)
Excerpts from Nominations

 (LINK 1–4) Charles T. Allen, Ph.D., Professor, Statewide IPM Coordinator, Association Department Head and Program Leader for Extension Entomology writes "Janet has professionally touched the lives of thousands of people and improved the lives of millions…Her biggest success has been to improve the health and wellbeing of the 4.7 million children in Texas public schools – and countless thousand more in other states.  The confidence she instills in people is a “force multiplier” …  Janet inspires trust and confidence and builds extensive and enduring partnerships."

(LINK 5) C.G. Cezeaux, Director of Operations, Spring ISD, Houston, TX cites Janet’s passion for IPM. "Janet was instrumental in helping the IPM Coodinators of Texas to form the Texas Integrated Pest Management for Public Schools. And she assisted several districts in becoming IPM Star Certification winners… Even with her busy schedule, if you have a question she is only an email of phone call away."

(LINK 6) Paul W Duerre, CIE, Killeen Independent School District, Killeen TX, Environmental Specialist/IPM Coordinator, President, Texas Integrated Pest Management Affiliate Public Schools writes "Janet’s approach to IPM is really an approach to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for the students, as well as the staff of our public school districts… She is always a fountain of knowledge on the regulations, proper documentation and reporting; new/better or just useful techniques that we can use in our pest management programs. If you have a problem or concern, Janet is always willing to take your call, emails, or even come directly to your school district.  …Ms. Janet Hurley has made our job easier in maintaining a healthy school environment for our kids, staff and parents to participate in the learning process. She cares!

(LINK 7) Kenneth Braeutigam, Maintenance Supervisor, Russellville School District, Arkansas School Plant Management Association (ASPMA) Past President writes Janet is “ALWAYS available to us for answering questions and giving advice.” Noting that she blends being a leader in school IPM with the promotion of school health. Janet has dedicated her life to helping others provide the healthiest learning environment possible for our children.

(LINK 8) Sherry Glick, Office of Pesticide Programs, US EPA, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention writes “In addition to her recognized efforts in the State of Texas, Ms. Hurley has been a national leader for healthier schools over the last decade. She has inspired and established national partnerships, led innovative practices, and remained dedicated and committed to our most precious resource, our children… Ms. Hurley assists school systems in implementing practical pest management programs that reduce pesticide risk, decrease absenteeism from asthma related illnesses due to pests, and result in cost savings.  Ms. Hurley also plays a key role in the National School IPM Working Group."

(LINK 9-11) L. C. “Fudd” Graham, Ph.D., Coordinator, Alabama School IPM Program, Auburn University, College of Agriculture and co-chair with Janet of the Southern Region School Integrated Pest Management Working Group praises her leadership and the resources she has created, and writes "Janet was instrumental in establishing a recognition program that values custodians and maintenance staff as partners, the IPM Pride Award. Janet has established and expanded regular training programs for maintenance staff and developed a curriculum for Advanced School IPM coordinator training reaching over 1,700 individuals in 499 Texas school districts. …The most important reason that Janet is a Healthy School Hero is her commitment to school children. She is able to look at the big picture where children are concerned and includes all aspects of children's safety in her programs from asthma to air-quality to safety.  As she says during many of our conversations, "We do it for the kids.” 
“A life line”

Linda Stroud, Ph.D.  
President of Science & Safety Consulting Service, Fayetteville, NC
-- Nominated by James Kaufman, Laboratory Safety Institute for her Excel chemical inventory spreadsheet, the Science Laboratory Safety Manual and a great eye protection poster.

Linda was a chemistry and biology teacher when she was misdiagnosed with MS, causing her to retire. After retirement, she started getting better. A blood test revealed she actually had heavy metal poisoning. Her desk has been in the 1929 building’s poorly ventilated chemical area for 17 years.  With chelation therapy, she recovered and began a new career dedicated to science safety.

Today she is recognized as a leading expert for training chemical hygiene officers, teachers and other school personnel for K-12 schools, community colleges and universities on science safety and hazard communication.

Linda presents at national and state education and scientific organization meetings. She was a member of the North Carolina Education Standards and Accountability Commission that established standards and accountability criteria for public schools. She is Past President of North Carolina Science Teachers Association (NCSTA) and NCSTA’s  Education Policy Legislative Liaison and Safety Advisor.

Linda chaired the National Science Teacher’s Association Science Safety Committee and is active in the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health & Safety (DCHAS).

(Read more about Linda’s accomplishments, publications, credentials and professional memberships at


“If I had to provide science safety help to a school or if there were a science safety emergency, I would call Linda right away and feel confident that she could take care of the problem.”  -- Manley Midgett, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction   Read more...

She has the knack for communicating the importance of the safety message in a way that the audience – whether a high school lab class or a school board or a legislative committee – “gets it.”  -- John White, Fayetteville, North Carolina  Read more...

We are most grateful for Linda’s generosity of time and her extraordinary effort helping with assessments and training. -- Henry Smith, CSRM, Risk Manager, Cumberland County Schools, Fayetteville, North Carolina

In her own words:

School safety is more than guns, knives and intruders. Many areas in our schools pose potential safety issues for staff and students. The safety program must be customized and comprehensive for each school and school system to provide a safe and healthy learning/working environment for all stakeholders.  (Linda Stroud,

If schools properly train staff and through them students, and implement and adhere to appropriate laboratory safety protocols, the laboratory experience can be both safe and rewarding. “ Implementation of a science laboratory safety program in North Carolina schools,” By Linda M. Stroud, Clara Stallings, Todd J. Korbusieski, Journal of Chemical Health & Safety, May/June 2007.

Effective laboratory safety is not possible without the continued education and commitment of all stakeholders involved in learning and experimentation in the scientific environment. The ability of students to solve problems using science inquiry is a vital step in the intellectual development of future educators, medical and science professionals and citizens in general. There is significantly more involved in ensuring science safety than merely presenting a set of rules and regulations to the class. Motivation, dedication and understanding of the “whys of safety” are essential in the development of a safe and effective school laboratory program.  -- Do You Know the Law? The Science Reflector, NCSTA Newsletter, by Linda M. Stroud, Ph.D.