Like all parents, we were always concerned about the health and safety of our kids, and particularly, how they were being affected by chemicals in the environment. At home we ate organic food, maintained our lawn without pesticides, avoided things like fabric softeners and chemical air fresheners, and used natural cleaning products. But once our kids got to school, we knew someone else would be making decisions that affected their environment. What did they know?
Not much, as it turned out.
Our first brush with toxins at school was with the friendly groundskeeper at the elementary school where Patti and a few parents had started a school garden. One day he casually volunteered to spray the perimeter of the garden with pesticides to kill the weeds. A few minutes later Patti was in the Principal's office discussing the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, and inquiring as to why pesticides were being used at our kids' school.
That night around the dining room table we wrote the first public school policy prohibiting pesticides on fields and grounds. A few weeks later, it was passed by our local school board, and the ChildSafe School program became reality.
Fast forward to today: the “Child Safe Playing Fields Act” prohibiting the use of pesticides on school playing fields and green spaces for grades K-12 is the law all over New York State!