A few weeks back, when I posted about pesticide use at Wallingford Park, I heard from several families at Hamilton International Middle School. As noted before on this blog, Seattle Public Schools routinely utilizes pesticides at public schools, because it is more cost-effective than hand-weeding. There are so many concerns about the use of pesticides around children and pregnant women that I don’t even know where to begin my rant about this short-sighted behavior, so I will point you to the fact sheets available at the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP).
Seattle Public Schools has an official Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy that includes using pesticides, “only as a last resort for solving pest problems.” However, people on the frontlines of this issue, such as Megan Dunn at the NACP, have discovered that SPS’s IPM policy is neither funded nor staffed. Ms. Dunn has appealed to SPS Superintendent Larry Nyland, who “was receptive” to funding and implementing the policy, but thus far no steps have been taken in that direction.
Enter the student Green Team at Hamilton International Middle School. This group of students wants to make Hamilton a “no spray zone” and are working to raise community awareness about this issue. To support their cause, neighbors can:
- Sign their petition. It takes about one minute. I counted.
- Come out to Wallingford Playfield at 3 pm on Sunday to support the students in their signature collecting efforts. They will be there dressed as bees and butterflies, and you (or your children) are welcome to don a pair of wings and meet them out there. They hope to raise awareness within the local neighbor and parent communities that Seattle Public Schools uses pesticides, as many people don’t know this. They will have paper copies of their petition available to sign as well.
Fingers crossed that the school district finds its students hard to ignore and actually starts implementing its own policy. It’s a good policy, and ought to be a model for the country instead of a document collecting dust while the district continues to spray.