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Schools must take steps to ensure a healthier environment for their students and not minimize the impact they have on the environment.

Schools can suffer from the same pollution problems as homes. But fixing those problems may be more challenging than tackling your own leaky windows or tightening your water faucets. A school administrator has many needs to attend to. Despite the best of intentions, the school’s budget and other extenuating circumstances may require the administrator to make tough choices that may or may not favor the environment.

You can help educate your school district and influence school policy by playing an active role in the Parent-Teacher Association, by voicing your concerns to the school board at meetings and through letters and petitions, and by educating the media about important environmental problems and opportunities your school faces.

Here are some things you can do:

Start an Ecology Club
If you are a student you can begin with students in your biology or science classes, form a club to promote energy conservation and other environmental projects. A science teacher can act as an adviser. The club can set up a recycling center, build a display on energy-efficient, driving, conduct an environmental audit of the school, or sponsor ecology fair on the anniversary of Earth Day (April 22). The club can also become a force for change in the school.

Set up an Environment Committee of the PTA.
Urge the PTA to endorse an environmental curriculum for your school. Supplement what your children are learning about the environment at school with lessons you can teach at home.

When it comes to the three R’s - reduce, reuse, and recycle – schools, colleges, and universities have as much to learn about garbage overload as do the rest of us.

Schools must take steps to ensure a healthier environment for its students and not minimize the impact they have on the environment.

Because ventilation systems work poorly in many schools, contaminated air that enters rooms from the foundation of the building concentrates instead of dispersing, so there are much risk for radon problems in many classrooms today. To avoid such problems, test frequently used rooms on the basement and ground-level floors, as well as gymnasiums, cafeterias, libraries, and offices. Conduct tests in the cooler months of the year when doors and windows are likely to be closed and concentrations of the gas are probably high.

Asbestos is also naturally occurring mineral that was used widely in schools because its fibers are fireproof, strong and don’t corrode easily. However, if a school administrator suspects that asbestos poses a problem in his or her school, specifically trained experts, not the school’s maintenance staff, should be asked to clean it up.

School officials must check for lead in drinking water and to conserve water, school officials can install toilet dams in school toilets.

In your home, you can let your water run for one or two minutes to flush the lead out of pipes and down the drain. But in elementary and secondary schools, it would be impossible to monitor every child who drinks water from a school fountain to make sure they let the water run before drinking it. Ask school officials to check for lead in drinking water. Also to conserve water, ask the school to install low-flow showerheads on showers in school gymnasiums. Insist that bugs and weeds on school grounds be controlled organically. Problems that affect the entire school do eventually affect the classrooms and each student that attends the school, so to solve the classroom problem, you have to take a wider approach of solving the school problem first.

The modern environmental movement has served to educate and empower students today and students are more aware of their surroundings. In fact, students use what they have learned to educate their entire family sometimes. Why don’t you do the same?