Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By David Ganezer
Observer Staff 

Some Roosevelt Parents Object to Termite Spraying This Spring

Parents plea for non-poisonous alternatives, a delay until Summer vacation


The Goodyear Blimp over Roosevelt Elementary School.

Roosevelt Elementary school plans to tent school buildings this Saturday, April 1, 2017, and spray for termites. But some parents think the plan is for the birds, and dangerous to the birds, bees and kids.

"Did you know that raising the temperature inside the walls to 120 degrees Farenheit will kill termites?" asks Jill Hawkins. She is part of a group of Roosevelt Elementary School parents, lobbying the SMMUSD to put away the poison. She thinks there are less dangerous alternatives to poison, and puzzles over why the school doesn't just wait until Summer vacation.

"We are aware of concerns raised by a few parents," wrote SMMUSD Spokesman Gail Pinkser. "We did the same treatment at Grant, Rogers, and Cabrillo (Malibu), last year and had no complaints that I'm aware of.

We are taking this step in advance of an exciting comprehensive window, paint and floor project planned this summer for Roosevelt and Webster (Malibu.) . Roosevelt is in serious need of this modernization," wrote Pinsker.

"I have been told that the pesticide used is a gas and dissipates following treatment and leaves no residue. This treatment is from Apr. 1-4 and students and staff don't return from spring break until Apr. 17th. This is the same pesticide used in residential treatment of termites."

"We are conducting thorough cleaning of all schools during spring break to start fresh following our ongoing norovirus concerns and the scheduled cleaning for Roosevelt will be after the fumigation. Again, I will restate that there is no residue left on surfaces from this pesticide, but we have cleaning planning for Roosevelt following the treatment."

"We are unable to wait until summer break because of the very tight and already accelerated plan for the school modernization that is a challenge to achieve in a short summer time frame, with no days to spare," wrote Pinsker. She added that despite the law requiring only 24 hours notice, parents received 4 days notice of the fumigation.

Let's be clear, my issue is NOT about how much notice parents did or did not receive, wrote Hawkins in reply. "The parent's issue with this project is that it is exposing our children and teachers to known harmful poison for the next three months (since it resides in the carpets/padding of carpet for years and is where our children sit) when the district already has plans to replace the carpets this summer."

A SamoHi Classroom

"It is careless of the district," continued Hawkins. "Simply because this toxin has been used in the past at other schools and is the district's current protocol, it does NOT make it safe. It is 2017 in progressive Santa Monica, we can do better and be leaders. This is why today, we do not use lead based paint - we move on when we can," she wrote.

"'Cleaning' will not suffice. We are talking about a serious gas. I don't think you'd want to have your grandkids sit on these toxic carpets that have been linked to damage of the reproductive and liver systems."

"Thank you for doing what's right - move this project to Summer 2017 - it will make a difference to our children's health and wellbeing," wrote Hawkins, in a final appeal to the District.


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