Create Healthy Schools for Jersey City Children!

Parents and Communities United for Education (PCUE) Jersey City chapter of the Statewide Education Organizing Committee (SEOC) A CALL TO ACTION Create Healthy Schools for Jersey City Children! Creating healthy schools must be a top priority for our public school system in Jersey City. A healthy school not only contributes to the comfort, health, and well-being of students but also allows students to perform better academically. Yet, during this academic year, thousands of children in our public schools had unpleasant experiences because of unhealthy conditions in their schools. Mold problems, for example, caused the sudden shut-down of PS 15 for three weeks. The latest example was the high level of lead in drinking water for six schools (11, 23, 31, 25, 6, 27, and 25), a health hazard that school officials were aware of for more than a year. Concerns regarding school health and safety are common among parents. This concern is shared by many teachers, school staff, and administrators. Creating an environment free of health hazards is particularly important for school buildings. A total 29,288 students (12.5% of Jersey City population), 2,900 teachers, many other school staff spend an important part of their day in public schools across the city. Children are more vulnerable than adults to health hazards. A typical school has four times more occupants than an office building of similar size. Many schools in Jersey City were built decades ago with little regard for high quality health and safety standards. Maintaining a healthy and environmentally safe school is not any less important than teaching children. If public schools are accountable for academic performance they must be held equally accountable for safeguarding the well-being of our children by creating schools that are free from health and environmental hazards. A healthy school building will assist the school to accomplish its core mission-- educating children. Parent\'s participation and involvement is indispensable to creating healthy and safe schools. Their voice must be heard and respected. ************************************************************************************************ Therefore, we the undersigned parents and members of the community in Jersey City strongly support PCUE\'s Call to Action to create healthy schools for Jersey City children. We urge Dr. Epps, School District Superintendent and members of the Board of Education to: 1. Follow the US Environmental Protection Agency\'s communication guidelines, and immediately notify parents of the timeline for testing drinking water in all schools and correcting any identified lead problem. 2. Create a standing committee of the Board of Education that is exclusively responsible for health and environmental safety of our schools. Three parents should be a part of this committee. 3. Create an Indoor Air quality Team following EPA guidelines at the district level. This team should partly consist of parents. 4. Issue semi-annual health and safety report cards for each school to parents of children in Jersey City beginning in August 2008.

Sponsor

Parents and communities United for Education (PCUE) is a grassroots organization of parents, grand parents, and concerned members of the community in Jersey City. PCUE is a chapter of the Statewide Education Organizing Committee of NJ. We are located at 169-A Martin Luther King Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305 You can reach us at 201-377-8585 and 201-616-9128

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    sarah wheeler, United States

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    Martina Barnes, United States

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