Our Students Deserve Healthy Schools

By: Laurie Mazer and Robin Roberts


What is going on?

Parents United for Public Education has been invested in the health of our school building the past 10 years. During the 2011 mass school closures, we identified schools that closed due to the district’s determination of poor facilities but then had children going to schools in worse condition. Since then, we have been involved several articles and projects that highlight the frank inequities and lack of preventative maintenance that are causing a public health catastrophe for the students, staff, and parents in our schools. We worked with City Council to assure fresh clean, cold water to every school with the installment of at least 3 hydration stations in every school. We are excited to be a leader partner in the Philly Healthy School Initiative which serves to:

  • Improve the public’s right to know
  • Establish “the ABC’s” for buildings: to set “Adequate Building Conditions”
  • Address the most critical environmental health threats in our schools
  • Develop a Facility Master Plan for our schools
  • Create a Healthy Schools Task Force – to give independent oversight of facility concerns and capital funding.
  • Increase funding

What can you do?

  • Read the 2015 Facility Condition Assessment for your child’s school. It can be found in the school profile on the school district website under Additional Information -> Building Information. Look at what the top concerns, those requiring repairs/renovation in the past 3 years
  • Read our PHSI fact sheet
  • Talk with the principal, building engineer. Ask what their top facility concerns are for the school.
  • Lobby School District of Philadelphia, speak to the school board, Principal on behalf of increasing school facility safety to our children.
  • Attend school district meetings if your school is scheduled to have remedial facility work done. Speak to other parents who have similar work done in their schools.
  • Demand SDP fund, hire and maintain janitorial staff, toilet paper, hand soap, clean classrooms, so that the district’s cleaning plan can actually be completed
    • ask who your building engineer is/how many cleaners you have FT
  • “Like” Philly Healthy School Initiative on Facebook to receive our updates


Toxic City series: Wendy Ruderman, Barbara Laker, and Dylan Purcell

  1. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/lead-carbon-monoxide-silica-poisoning-construction-students-teachers-philadelphia-schools-toxic-city.html
  2. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/lead-paint-poison-children-asbestos-mold-schools-philadelphia-toxic-city.html
  3. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/asbestos-testing-mesothelioma-cancer-philadelphia-schools-toxic-city.html
  4. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/special_packages/toxic-city/stories/olney-philadelphia-school-district-cleans-asbestos-fibers-test-toxic-city-furness-garden-20180608.html
  5. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/philadelphia-school-district-asbestos-lead-paint-clean-up-toxic-city-20180621.html
  6. https://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/07/23/union-environmental-consultant-doubts-school-repairs-will-be-finished-this-summer/


Additional State funding for lead paint remediation


Additional School needed to make immediate lead paint remediation