federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires schools to certify
that they comply with the requirement to allow students attending a
violent or "Persistently Dangerous School" to transfer to a safe
school. (See the reference to federal guidance below.)
Proposed expanded definition: "A PERSISTENTLY DANGEROUS SCHOOL..."
a school that poses a threat to a child's health and safety when anyone
creates or ignores biological, chemical, physical or structural
conditions and/or activities that cause or have the potential to cause
llness or injury to any child or other school occupant."
Title 9, Part E, SEC. 9532. UNSAFE SCHOOL CHOICE OPTIONS
(a) UNSAFE SCHOOL CHOICE POLICY - Each State receiving funds under this Act shall establish and implement a statewide policy requiring that a student attending a persistently dangerous public elementary school or secondary school, as determined by the State in consultation with a representative sample of local educational agencies, or who becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, as determined by State law, while in or on the grounds of a public elementary school or secondary school that the student attends, be allowed to attend a safe public elementary school or secondary school within the local educational agency, including a public charter school.
(b) CERTIFICATION. As a condition of receiving funds under this Act, a State shall certify in writing to the Secretary that the State is in compliance with this section.
Who's Sick at School: Linking Poor School Conditins and Helath Disparities for Boston's Children. March 2006. www.masscosh.org
Persistently Dangerous Schools
PROPOSED POSITION STATEMENT
"Students and school staff have the right to a clean, well-ventilated and well-maintained school environment, free of biological, chemical, physical or structural conditions or activities that harm them or have the potential to cause illness or injury.
Furthermore, no school official should force or coerce a child's or employee's attendance or occupancy where:
1) there are risks to health and safety (as perceived by the student, employee or parent) such as inadequate ventilation, poor sanitation, poor environmental hygiene, air contaminants, leaks, dampness, mold or moisture intrusion, or unsafe equipment or supplies; or
2) the child, employee or other occupant believes his or her symptoms are related to a location, event or activity.
Furthermore, all employees of state and local education agencies share the duty to safeguard all students and employees from health-related hazards that have the potential to cause injury and illness and disrupt their education or employment. STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Just as violence or fear of violence interferes with a child's safety, learning and sense of security, school health hazards interfere with learning, security and attendance. Sources of illness and threats to health security endanger all students and employees and discriminate against health-impaired students and employees. POLICY RECOMMENDATION
All states should include, in the definition of "persistently dangerous schools," the following precautions, standards, school official responsibilities, and parent and employee rights.
School officials fulfill their duty to protect students and employees from illness, injury and all health-related barriers to their education or employment, by
1) Precautionary Action: designing and maintaining a standard for all facility conditions and operations and in all educational locations and activities that protect all occupants, but especially health-impaired and other vulnerable students, from illness, injury or death
2) Secondary Action: responding immediately to any report, verbal or written, of conditions or activities that have the potential to cause or exacerbate any child's or adult's illness, injury, or death,
2a) Simultaneously: immediately taking children and adults out of harm's way to an alternative safe location, and
2b) Immediately stopping and correcting the conditions or activities, before the area is re-occupied.
2c) Notification: As the school nurse or principal does for incidents of head lice or scabies, chickenpox, strep throat, head injury, etc., the school nurse or school principal will notify all parents in writing of unsafe conditions, an exposure incident, or activity, or hazard, the observed or potential symptoms of the exposure, any signs or symptoms to watch for, the actions taken by specified school personnel, and recommendations for follow up.
2d) Respecting the standard of the "prudent parent," by providing alternative instruction and/or placement in an equal (and medically appropriate, per parent/child's physician) educational program, at the expense of the local school agency (LEA), when a parent or a child's physician judges that a condition or activity in the school has the potential to cause or has caused illness, injury or disruption of learning.
2e) Reimbursing a parent or group of parents for any out-of-pocket expenses they incur for medical or educational expenses, due to a school official's resistance or failure to maintain safe conditions and to implement the precautions necessary to protect and safeguard a child's health and education.
3) Maintaining logs of health concerns and reports, complaints and observations of unhealthy or unsafe conditions or activities and corrective actions.
4) Maintaing records of all health, safety and structural inspections, facility evaluations and air testing results, maintenance activities and purchasing records, occupancy restrictions.
5) Making records available to parents, employees, and the public, at all times at no charge (i.e. on the school or district website.)
The world endures solely by virtue of the breath of school children. (Talmud)