LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — California Safe Schools celebrated the outstanding efforts of more than 800 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Plant Managers and their supervisors at four luncheons honoring elementary, middle school, and high school Plant Managers for their exceptional efforts in implementing the most stringent school pesticide policy in the nation for the past 20 years.

California Safe Schools
The LAUSD Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy embraces the Precautionary Principle, Right to Know, training and communications, and a 15-member committee oversees implementation. As a result of these efforts, Roundup and other highly toxic pesticides, herbicides, and antimicrobials have not been used at LAUSD campuses for two decades. In place of toxic chemicals the district works to prevent infestations though inspections, exclusion (i.e. door sweeps), eliminating clutter, extensive cleaning, and gardening practices that reduce weeds and pests. In addition heat treatment has been the preferred method for eradicating termites, eliminating potential exposure of other toxic chemicals.

“The Los Angeles Unified School District, second largest school district in the nation, spans 28 cities and 710 square miles, with more than 25,000 buildings covering 80 million square feet,” said Robina Suwol, founder and executive director of California Safe Schools. “The success of the policy is a result of extremely well trained and committed management, plant managers, pest, and turf and landscape management experts. celebrating our plant managers for all of their tremendous work was long overdue given their tireless efforts to make our schools safe for all.”

The guests enthusiastically received Douglas Anderson, Area Facilities Director and Master of Ceremonies for the event. Between introducing the Los Angeles Unified Maintenance & Operations Management, Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter, Director of Facilities, Roger Finstad, Angelita Khazei, Deputy Director, Adriana Salazar of the Teamsters, and Robina Suwol Executive Director of California Safe Schools, he energized the crowd with trivia questions, and distributed honors and prizes.

While all Plant Managers were praised, LAUSD supervisors selected Plant Managers whom excelled and represented their colleagues to receive awards from California Safe Schools, designed by celebrated artist Michael Bruza, for their 20 years of achievements, and commendations from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Assemblyman Adrin Nazarrian and Senator Robert Hertzberg. In addition to these honorees, each and every Plant Manager received a special commendation.

Additional guest speakers expressing thanks and congratulations include: Brian Gavidia from the Office of Mayor Garcetti; Jacqueline Lawson, Los Angeles City Attorney; Dr. Alfonzo C. Webb, II and Maryhelen Torres of Local District East; and Min Wang of Republic Services. All expressed their desire to make this an annual event.

“For twenty years, LAUSD has implemented one of the most stringent, collaborative and effective school IPM programs in the nation, one that has become a model for the state and the nation. This has only been possible because of the daily efforts and dedication of our Plant Managers. They have ensured the success of this program and we salute their tireless efforts to protect LAUSD students and staff,” added Douglas Anderson, Los Angeles Unified Area Facilities Director.

Dr. Cathie Ann Lippman, celebrated physician from the Lippman Center for Optimal Health, joined in the praises. “A clean environment is imperative for good health. Congratulations to all of the exceptional Los Angeles Unified School District Plant Managers and staff for their commitment to groundbreaking environmental policies and protocols that ensure vulnerable students and staff are protected.”

“It is important to take the time to honor and give thanks to those who are literally the gate keepers of our schools. Hats off and double high fives to each and every Plant Manager who takes on the often-complicated task of navigating a day in the life of a school. I thank you as a parent, and on behalf of the children who are our future!” underscored Kristina L. Jasiukonis, Los Angeles Unified School District parent.

Sponsors include:
Teamsters, Republic Services, Galpin Motors, South Coast Air Quality Management District, California Endowment, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Global Environmental, Inc., NATEC International, Inc. Anderson Trophy, and Farm Table

About California Safe Schools (CSS):
CSS is a children’s environmental health and environmental justice coalition founded in 1998. CSS was formed after its founder’s child was accidently sprayed with pesticides on his way into an LAUSD elementary school by a LAUSD gardener on, a pivotal event that catalyzed LAUSD’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy formation. The success of the policy led to the California Healthy Schools Act 2000, and AB405 (Montanez), sponsored by California Safe Schools, which bans the use of experimental, conditional, or phased out products at all California K-12 public schools.

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News Source: California Safe Schools