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From April 12, 2005

School District Celebrates Six Years of Student Protection Though IPM
(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2005) Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District Board (LAUSD) will officially commemorate its 6-year partnership with California Safe Schools (CSS) in protecting student health while keeping campuses free of pests and weeds. In recognizing CSS, the School Board is also celebrating six successful years of its Integrated Pest Management Policy (IPM), which uses low risk methods to protecting school sites from pests and weeds.

In partnership with CSS, LAUSD implemented the first policy in the USA to embrace the "precautionary principle" and gave parents Right to Know about chemicals being used in and around school campuses. The policy which includes staff training, and a fifteen member oversight committee comprised of diverse individuals (doctor, parents, district staff, teacher, community members, principal, environmentalists ,County Health Representative and "Independent " IPM Experts) meet monthly to ensure implementation. Today the policy has become the model for the nation.

"I am very grateful to California Safe Schools and Los Angeles Unified for being in the forefront of health and safety for now just students, but teachers, staff, and community members who visit or live near school sites," said Jacqueline Cambas, parent of a Los Angeles Unified student.

"CSS is thrilled to have forged such a strong relationship with the school district over such a vital concern as the health of growing children" said Robina Suwol, Executive Director of CSS. "Time has proved that kids benefit enormously when parents and schools work together."

The preamble to the Los Angeles Unified Integrated Policy states: "Pesticides pose risks to human health and the environment, with special risks to children. It is recognized that pesticides cause adverse health effects in humans such as cancer, neurological disruption, birth defects, genetic alteration, reproductive harm, immune system dysfunction, endocrine disruption and acute poisoning. Pests will be controlled to protect the health and safety of students and staff, maintain a productive learning environment and maintain the integrity of school buildings and grounds. Pesticides will not be used to control pests for aesthetic reasons alone. The safety and health of students, staff and the environment will be paramount."

Since its initial work with LAUSD, CSS has been sought out by parents and schools around the state and the nation to help find the best ways to protect children's health from toxic chemicals while keeping campuses free of pests and weeds. CSS has also played a role in legislation to protect student health.

TAKE ACTION: Find out what state laws and local policies govern your school. Contact Beyond Pesticides to learn how to get your school to adopt an IPM program by:

(1) Identifying the school's pest management policy;
(2) Educating yourself and evaluating the program;
(3) Organizing the school community;
(4) Working with school decision-makers; and,
(5) Becoming a watchdog and establishing an IPM Committee.

If your school already has an IPM program in place or other laws regarding pesticide use or right-to-know, find out if they are complying. Work with your school to see what is being done and what still needs to get done. For more information, see Beyond Pesticides' Children and Schools issue pages.