April 11, 2013

IAQ Team Action Kit  

Parents, educators and health professionals owe it to children to eliminate environmental hazards that are a source of preventable illness and disability.

Be An IAQ Team Player. Give people most directly affected by poor air quality or unsafe conditions the ability to prevent or resolve a problem before it becomes a crisis. Include parents, students, administrators, school nurses, teachers, facility managers, custodians, students, school business managers, and health department officials.

April 10, 2013

What does accountability look like? 

        In May 17, 2000, civil rights organizations filed a lawsuit against the State of California because of the terrible conditions in many of its public schools (the Williams v. California case).  Students, parents, and teachers argued that the State was failing to provide thousands of public school students, particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color, with the basic necessities required for an education. 
        After four years, in August 2004, the parties agreed to a settlement.  The Williams settlement created new education standards and accountability systems with mandatory timelines.  It also provided nearly $1 billion to help the lowest-performing schools correct their problems. 
       One of the most important accountability tools created by the settlement was a process that gave all students, parents, teachers, and community members the right to file a complaint when students were being denied sufficient textbooks, qualified teachers or decent school facilities. 
        Prior to the Williams settlement, claims of “discrimination” needed to be based on a child’s ethnicity, special education status or English language fluency. “Now, anyone who sees a hazard can file a complaint about unacceptable conditions in a school.” Says Marc Tafolla.  “Most importantly, Williams complaints work.”

Watch "The Fixer," the New American Media video.
See how the process happened in elementary schools in Oakland and Richmond. Marc Tafolla, of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (San Francisco) of the Education Opportunity Project (EOP) is helping local individuals and groups fix schools using the landmark Williams v.s. California case that mandates clean and safe facilities, qualified teachers and up-to-date text books in California schools.
Get smart! Make every day count.

"Many parents cannot take it for granted that schools are the safe havens their children deserve. I encourage parent groups to use the inspiring hero stories online at Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to break the silence about unhealthy conditions at school." --  Ellie Goldberg, M.Ed, www.healthy-kid.info

You are not alone. There are many school officials, school nurses, health educators, asthma educators and parents who share your values and health protection goals.

Join local and national groups to find allies and experienced advocates especially on annual days, weeks, and months designed to promote health and safety. These campaigns often provide free lesson plans, activity ideas and other educational tools and resources online. 

Take advantage of national awareness campaigns for asthma, lung health, injury and burn prevention, fire safety, lab safety, fitness, high performance schools, pollution prevention, public health, cancer prevention, environmental health, chemical clean outs, health education, wellness, and healthy schools. 

Learn more: Healthy Kids' Resources: Indoor Air Quality
Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and John Gann

April 09, 2013

Get Smart! Make Every Day Count.
Webinar: Defining Clean in School Facilities and its Impact on Students, Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 1:30 pm CDT (11:30 a.m. PDT, 12:30 p.m. MDT, 1:30 p.m. CDT, 2:30 p.m. EDT)  American Clearinghouse on Educational Facilities (ACEF) will host this webinar, presented by Dr. Richard Shaughnessy.    The webinar will explore the strong relationships between a school classroom’s healthy indoor environment and its student wellness and productivity, and describe improvements to classroom indoor environmental quality that create and maintain healthy schools. Cleanliness requirements for schools often require facilities to be kept in a “clean” and “sanitary” condition, as typically determined by visual inspection. Rarely are quantitative measurements of the surfaces and materials that are “cleaned and sanitized” required in support of the visual assessment. However, cleaning practices may be adequate according to an “eyeball” assessment, but inadequate at the removal of less visible substances we term pollutants (i.e. biological, chemical, particulate residues), thereby failing to reduce the burden of exposure and health risk to the building occupants.  
Register:  http://www.acefacilities.org/DeliveryDetails.aspx?classid=79b72ff8-d9d8-48c6-abf1-957b862bf0d4    For more information, contact  Laura Whetstine  ACEF,  phone: 254-968-9990, email: acef@acefacilities.org.
School Siting Webinar: Understanding the Challenges andOpportunities for Communities and Decision-makers, May 8, 2013; 1:00 pm -2:15 pm, EST.  This webinar will help districts, schools, and communities understand the importance of school siting and the impacts on economic development, communities, public health, and the environment.  A panel of experts from U.S.EPA, Suzi Ruhl, J.D., M.P.H, Senior Attorney Policy Advisor in the Office of Environmental Justice; Regina Langton, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Sustainable Communities; and Suganthi Simon, Pollution Prevention Coordinator, Region 4, will provide participants with information and tools that can help districts, schools, and communities weigh school siting decisions.  Register now at: https://esbuildings.webex.com/esbuildings/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=290358887
Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and John Gann 
There is a HERO in your area. It could be you!

Countdown to National Healthy Schools Day April 30

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 1937 Texas 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.

Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and John Gann 

April 07, 2013

Safety in the Science Classroom

LInda Stroud
OSHA Training Requirements and Guidelines for K–14 School Personnel (PDF) provides a summary of OSHA training requirements and guidelines, at both the national and state level, as determined by state. It provides training guidelines, characteristics of an acceptable trainer, and topics that are required among various states. Authored by Linda M. Stroud, PhD, NSTA Safety Advisory Board, Chair, 2009–2010; and Kenneth R. Roy, PhD, NSTA Science Safety Compliance Consultant.

Guidelines from NSTA’s Safety Advisory Board

Safety Resources List

Much more at http://www.nsta.org/portals/safety.aspx
Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and John Gann

April 03, 2013

Safe Schools. Pipeline Preparedness  
Countdown to National Healthy Schools Day April 30
Approximately one in every 20 schools is located within a half-mile of a transmission pipeline or above ground pipeline facility. The Pipeline Association for Public Awareness helps schools improve safety planning and readiness by sponsoring the School Pipeline Safety Partnership. http://www.pipelineawareness.org/schools/
Learn more:
More activities: Bring the Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to Your School.

Inspiring Nominees
 Aimee Code and John Gann

April 02, 2013

Countdown to National Healthy Schools Day April 30

"Our daddies and mothers, as well as the teachers, want to know that when we leave our homes in the morning to go to school, that we will come out safe when our lessons are over.'  
Click here to read 9-year-old fifth grader Carolyn Jones' speech to the Texas Legislature, March 25, 1937.

...let us suggest the legislature of Texas set aside a special day each year to be observed as a memorial day on which tribute will be paid to the children and teachers who died in this catastrophe...and to make laws of safety... Our daddies and mothers, as well as the teachers, want to know that when we leave our homes in the morning to go to school, that we will come out safe when our lessons are over.  
More activities: Bring the Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion to Your School.

Inspiring Nominees Aimee Code and