In the year 2000 Governor Davis signed into law AB 2260 (Shelly) creating the Healthy Schools Act of 2000. This new law, effective January 1, 2001, establishes that the preferred methods of managing pests in schools be those employing the least-toxic pest management practices and that the State shall facilitate the adoption of those practices.
The Act does not ban the use of pesticides in schools. It does, however, require those schools using pesticides to implement certain actions. Though not mandatory, integrated pest management is encouraged to be utilized by school districts. Should IPM be chosen, it shall be in accordance with the program being developed by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR).
In January of 2002 the West Contra Costa Unified School District adopted a IPM policy to reduce the use of pesticides at the schools in our district. Our goal is to protect the health and safety of the students and staff and to maintain school buildings and grounds both by controlling pests and by using the safest methods for people and the environment.
This new policy is overseen by an IPM committee, which includes members of the community and district representatives including members of the maintenance department. We are doing our best to address pest problems in the schools while still eliminating the use of the worst pesticides, and significantly reducing the use of all pesticides.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Here are some key steps that you can take in order to make the West Contra Costa Schools not only pesticide free, but also pest free.
• Do not bring animals into classrooms or allow your students to do this (this causes flea infestation).
• Only allow food in the classroom when absolutely necessary.
• When there is food in the classroom, please remove trash to an outside bin. Clean as much as you can and make sure the custodial staff knows to clean the room as soon as possible.
• Please get rid of all cans of Raid and other pesticides available to consumers. Many of these are dangerous pesticides which teachers and students should not be exposed to. The best alternative is a non-toxic cleaner that will help clean up the reason ants and roaches are there.The IPM committee is trying to find ways to communicate with you about IPM and your role in it. In the mean time, please adhere to the steps above as we all continue to learn better ways to help keep the West Contra Costa Schools clean and healthy. If you wish to learn more, please visit the following web site: http://www.calhealthyschools.org/, or e-mail Vince Meyer with questions.