Educate Yourself About Non-Toxic Schools
Do you actually know what constitutes a green and healthy school environment? For example, is mold worse than lead-based paint? Do green cleaners really make a difference? Does school location matter? If you’re unclear about what makes a healthy school environment, it’s time to learn. You can’t make sure your child’s school is healthy if you don’t get the facts. Following are some easy starter guides all about healthy, non-toxic schools:
- This Vinyl School – a handy interactive guide to PVC in schools.
- PCBs in Schools – learn what PCB exposure is and how kids can avoid exposure in schools.
- Mold at school (pdf) – facts about mold exposure and prevention.
- Parent’s Guide to School Air Quality (pdf) – a basic, short, yet informative guide on all things indoor air quality related.
- Playground Safety (pdf) – how to avoid and fix toxic issues in school play areas.
- Non-toxic school supplies – why send your kid to school with toxic supplies?
- Beyond Pesticides toxin guide – become a parent expert on various chemicals.
- Green Schools Initiative – an awesome, easy to mange website all about green and healthy schools.
Give Your Child a Healthy Start
If you’re going the public school route, it’s tough to choose your child’s ideal primary, middle and high school. Often districts and red-tape halt transfers. However, as a parent, you have more choices regarding early childhood education, so make those choice count. Younger children are more vulnerable to harmful chemicals and toxic air pollution so choosing a healthy day care or preschool is a must and gives your child a healthier start in life. Before you start your search, read our handy guide about how to choose a non-toxic day care for your child.
Support Healthy School Policy
As a parent you should support national, state and local policy that mandate healthier, safer schools. During elections, pay attention to what candidates are saying about healthy schools. Support candidates who address, support and fund healthy school design and renovations, use of environmentally preferable materials, greener supplies and removal of harmful substances such as mold and PVC. Candidates you vote for should express concern for a parents “right to know” about school hazards. Go a step further by offering public testimony at local and state governmental levels and get students involved by encouraging them to write letters to campaigns to lobby local, state, or national policy decision-makers about specific school policy changes. Not sure where to start when it comes to non-toxic school policy? Try the following resources:
- Get involved with the Children’s Environmental Health Network.
- The School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS) is a national survey that assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school and classroom levels. If you’re not sure about current school policies in your state, your local SHPPS state report card is a good place to start.
- The American School Health Association (ASHA) has an excellent Guide to Advocacy (pdf) that discusses how to lobby, create grass roots campaigns, how to get the media involved and more that can help you create change in schools. ASHA also has a webpage discussing how to locate need-to-know information on US legislators.
- CPOC’s Green Flag Schools Program for Environmental Leadership is a totally FREE program that supports students (and parents) who want to investigate their schools and identify solutions for making their schools safer and healthier.
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