Protecting Students and Staff, Improving Learning
Every school day in New Jersey, children, teachers and school staff face conditions that can cause illness or injury and that make it harder to teach and to learn. On average, New Jersey’s 2,500 school buildings are 50 years old and are four times more densely populated than office buildings. Age, overcrowding, and deferred maintenance strain ventilation, heating, plumbing, electrical systems, and waste energy. Students and staff in many schools are exposed to mold and other indoor air pollutants, triggering asthma attacks and absences due to illness. More than 20% of schools report conditions defined as “so potentially hazardous that they cause an imminent peril to the health and safety of students or staff.”
OUR CAMPAIGN PLATFORM
1. Safe and modernized school buildings. The N.J. Legislature must make funding available for school facilities projects. Currently the Schools Development Authority funding is completely allocated to projects and more funding is needed to address new construction and renovation projects. It is imperative we invest without delay.
2. Danger-free learning environments. As required by law, the N.J. Department of Education and Schools Development Authority must correct imminent dangers.
3. Healthy air. All schools should comply with state indoor air quality standards that are too often ignored. The N.J. Health Department should ensure that everyone understands the law and that it is followed.
4. Safe temperatures. The legislature should enact the Safe Temperatures Act, A665/S2563,
to require school districts to have a plan to address extreme temperatures. Sign our petition here: https://bit.ly/2AMYYki to help pass this legislation.
FIGHTING FOR WORTHWHILE OUTCOMES
- A school environment without extreme heat or cold, poor air circulation, mold, or toxic materials such as lead, asbestos, PCBs, and unsafe cleaning products.
- A productive learning environment in which students have access to 21st century technology and are not distracted by rain coming through ceilings or cold winds blowing through windows.
- A reduced rate of absenteeism, providing greater continuity for students, staff, and parents.
- A boost to our economy and local tax base by creating 10,000 construction/renovation jobs annually.
- A smart return on investment as we save money now spent or lost because of illnesses, absences, and energy waste. Updating each school’s energy efficiency can save an average of $100,000 a year.
View a photo collection of unsafe schools from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.
About Healthy Schools Now (English/Spanish)
Mercury Flooring Hazards
- Alert! Mercury-Hazards to Staff and Students from Rubber-Like Floors in Schools (English/Spanish)
- Mercury Hazards in Schools from Rubber-Like Polyurethane Floors (Full Guide for School Staff)
- Mercury Hazards in Schools from Rubber-Like Polyurethane Floors (Full Guide for NJ School Boards)
- NJEA Review: Check Those Gym Floors for Mercury (March 2019)
- NJEA Review: Identify Floors that May Emit Mercury Vapor (April 2017)
School Hazard Facts for Families Factsheet Series:
- Unite for Schools Free of Environmental Hazards (en español)
- Unite for a Toxic-Free School (en español)
- Unite for Schools Free of Hazards From Construction (en español)
- Unite for a Mold-Free Schools (en español)
- Unite for Schools Free of Pests and Pesticides (en español)
- Unite for Schools Free of Dust, Dirt, and Germs (en español)
- Schools Hazards Hurt Health and Learning (en español)
- Top School Health and Safety Websites (en español)
- Schools with Good Ventilation (en español)
- Schools with Comfortable Temperatures (en español)
Lead in Drinking Water:
- Lead in Schools (NJ WEC)
- Drinking Water Facts: Lead (NJ Dept of Health)
- Sources of Lead in Drinking Water (EPA)
Lead in Drinking Water Reports:
- NJEA Review: Artificial Turf (October 2019)
- NJ Association of Schools Administrators
- NJ Black Issues Convention
- NJ Clean Water Action
- NJ Communities United
- NJ Community School Coalition
- NJ Education Association
- NJ Environmental Justice Alliance
- NJ Policy Perspective
- NJ Principals & Supervisors Association
- NJ School Boards Association
- NJ Working Families Alliance
- Our Children Our Schools
- Oranges & Maplewood NAACP
- Paramus Education Association
- Parent Education Organizing Council
- Passaic County Education Association
- Paterson Education Association
- Paterson Education Fund
- Perth Amboy Federation/AFT Local 857
- Plainfield Education Association
- Play It Safe Mahwah
- Queens Mentoring Program
- Save Our Schools NJ
- Shiloh Community Development Corporation
- Somerset County Education Association
- Statewide Education Organizing Committee
- Sussex County Education Association
- Trenton Education Association
- Vineland Education Association
- UIH Family Partners
- Unidos por Escuelas Dignas (United for Dignified Schools)
- Union County Education Association
- Washington Township Schools Supportive Services Personnel Association