Parent Right to Know Act

Parents Right To Know Act/ DRAFT

Proposed by Malibu Unites

(a California non-profit)

(Draft January 16, 2014)

Background:

A series of events at Malibu High School alerted Malibu Unites to a loophole in the notification requirements when hazardous or toxic substances are identified on a public school campus.

Prop 65 excludes public building and OSHA only protects the employee, but no law protects parents and children.

Why we need this law: In 2009, soil contaminated with PBCs and pesticides was discovered on the Malibu High School Campus at “concentrations that present an unacceptable health risk” as stated in Arcadis’s report. The School District did not inform the parents or teachers of this. The School District developed a remediation plan that called for removing the contaminated soil over a two-month period during summer school 2011, while teachers and students were present but uninformed. Currently there is no requirement to notify parents, students or surrounding neighborhoods of the removal of contaminated soil.

As a result students, teachers and parents were active on campus during the entire remediation process placing them in significant danger from exposure to the PBC/pesticide contaminated soil without their knowledge. This law would ensure that the exposure to toxins that happened at Malibu High to the parents, students and teachers, would never happen again.

According to the EPA, many California schools could contain PCBs as well as other hazardous or toxic substances that could require remediation at some future point.

The Malibu Unites: Parents Right To Know Act would require proper notification through means of a hazards communication program, provided to Parents, Students and Teachers, to insure that they can take the necessary steps to avoid exposure during the presence and removal of these substances.

 

Proposed Scope and Application:

1. If a School Board of Directors or District Employee or Independent Contractor for the district knows of or suspects the presence of hazardous or toxic substances on or within a school campus, they are required to inform parents, students, teachers and staff by means of a hazard communication program within 48 hours: three consecutive day email campaign, 2 consecutive phone call campaigns (Robo Call: all schools have this already) visible posting on all building entrances and a letter sent though mail.

2. This applies to any hazardous substance, which is known to be present in the workplace in such a manner that students may be exposed under normal conditions or foreseeable conditions, including emergency conditions.

3. Before knowingly and intentionally exposing students to any hazardous substances or chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, the district must provide a 5 day minimum warning to students and parents by means of a hazard communication program: three consecutive day email campaign, 2 consecutive phone call campaigns (all schools have this already) visible posting on all building entrances and a letter sent though mail.

4. If hazardous substances are found on campus, districts must collaborate with all stakeholders to derive a removal/remediation plan. These stakeholders include but are not limited to parents, students and on premise staff. These stakeholders must publicly vet any removal/ remediation plan. An independent board consisting of at minimum 1 person elected by each stakeholders group (parents, students, staff, district employees, experts at a 1:1 ratio of all stakeholders) will be given full and immediate access to all district communications, documents, contracts, plans, scope of work, etc that pertains to the activities that led up to the hazardous issue as well as ongoing until completion of removal/remediation. This board must be formed within 14 days of notice of contamination.

5. Risk identification: Once the presence and concentrations of specific hazardous substances and health hazards have been established, the risks associated with these substances shall be identified. Notification must be provided to parents, students and on campus staff within 48 hours by means of a hazard communication program within 48 hours: three consecutive day email campaign, 2 consecutive phone call campaigns (Robo Call) visible posting on all building entrances and a letter sent though mail.

6. Online Notification: School Districts and individual schools must have a link on their homepage that says “Parent’s Right to Know Act” that links to all environmental and hazards reports in chronological order. Districts that have multiple schools must separate documents per school. Environmental documents must be posted within 24 hours of receipt by a district or their representative/agent. Failure to post within 24 hours will result in a fine of $2500 per day.

7. Who enforces Parents Right to Know?
 The California Attorney General’s Office. Any district attorney or city attorney (for cities whose population exceeds 750,000) may also enforce Parents Right to Know. In addition, any individual acting in the public interest may enforce, by filing a lawsuit against a business alleged to be in violation of this law. Lawsuits can be filed by the Attorney General’s Office, district attorneys, consumer advocacy groups, and private citizens and law firms. Penalties for violating Parents Right to Know by failing to provide notices are $2,500 per violation per day from date of violation to date of notice to district for violation sent by certified/ signature mail. All penalties collected will go to improved enforcement of the Parents Right to Know Act.