School Health Hazards

When we send our children to school we expect them to be protected fro the most basic dangers. Massive school shootings have received national attention over the last few years, but they are a vey rare occurrence, and unlikely to happen to your child.

Schools across the country are beefing up security in response to media attention and public outcry, but the most prevalent dangers that children are exposed to everyday are less noticeable and tend to be things that you never think about, such as toxic substances in the air and in their food.

Unfortunately, to appease frightened parents, funds that could be spent on making schools truly safer and healthier are being wasted on high visibility displays of security, which may not actually deter or prevent violence at all. Meanwhile, the real dangers remain in the shadows, quietly killing our children.

Contaminated air

Children from five to 18 years old spend about 60% of their time in schools. Add teachers, administrators and other school employees and nearly 20% of Americans are in schools every day.

In 1995 the US Government Accounting Office reported that over half of America’s schools have poor indoor air quality. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a program designed to improve indoor air quality in schools. Schools are not required to participate and the EPA cannot enforce the program.

Airborne contaminants commonly found in schools include:

• Asbestos

• Carbon monoxide

• Mold

• Cleaning supplies

• Pesticides

• Lead

• Radon

• Toxins off-gassed from furnishings, carpeting, and construction materials

Poor school air quality can cause immediate health problems and academic problems, as well as permanent damage to your child’s health. The effects can include:

• Respiratory infections

• Difficulty concentrating

• Poor academic performance

• Allergies

• Asthma

• Increased absences

• Migraines

• Cancer

Poor food safety

Schools handle, prepare, serve, and store food for hundreds or thousands of kids. Like any other facility, schools are required to follow certain health codes regarding food. Unfortunately, many fail to adhere to safe practices. Improper food preparation and inadequate supervision can result in food poisoning, choking, allergic reactions, and even death.


Accidents are part of growing up, but hazardous conditions in schools can result in life-altering or fatal accidents, most of which are preventable. Hazardous conditions which can lead to accidents in schools include:

• Dangerous or faulty playground equipment

• Faulty escape routes

• Maintenance and construction defects

• Unsafe parking lots


Injuries are a daily part of playing sports, and school athletes are going to get hurt at some point. However, coaches have a responsibility to supervise players and to recognize and respond properly to injuries. There is no excuse for coaches knowingly pushing players beyond their physical abilities and causing injury or death. Unnecessary sports injuries can occur during sporting events or during practice. They may be the result of a coach’s action or inaction, such as allowing a player to return to play after a concussion. Sports injuries can also be caused by faulty equipment.

If your child has been injured or killed by hazardous conditions at school contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.

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