What Principals Should Know 

Integrated Pest management (IPM) in North Carolina Schools

What School Principals should know about section 2 of the School Children’s Health Act

Recent surveys show that more than 50% of North Carolina’s public schools receive a pesticide application every month, whether pests are present or not.  We know that pesticides are poisons designed to kill pests by interfering with life processes.  We also know that some pest and human body systems are similar so pesticides can also injure humans.  Children are especially vulnerable because their bodies are still developing.  As such pesticides should not be used routinely in schools.  This is one of the reasons why the state legislature passed the School Children’s Health Act in 2006.

Section 2 of The School Children’s Health Act requires local school boards of education to adopt policies that address pesticide use on school property.  It requires that every public school district implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program by 10/1/2011.  It also requires School principals or principal’s designees to notify the students’ parents or guardians, and the school staff about pesticide use on school property annually.  This annual notice must also include information about the right of parents, guardians, and school staff to be notified 72 hours in advance of any NON-EXEMPT pesticide application that was not previously scheduled or planned.

FAQs about Notification of Pesticide Use in North Carolina Schools  

The following are some of the questions that have been asked the most by principals, and the answers to these can help other principals and school personnel to effectively understand and administer the notification section of the School Children’s Health Act.

What is the scope of this bill?

It covers all pesticides that may be applied anywhere on the school property (in school buildings, the building exterior perimeter, all school grounds including athletics fields).  See guidelines for notifications at http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu or http://www.pested.org/programs/school.html.

Who should notify the parents, guardians, and school staff about the pesticide applications?

The school principal or principal’s designee.

Who should be notified?

Student’s parents, guardians, custodians and school staff.

How often must students’ parents/guardians, the school staff be notified about pesticide use in their schools?

Once annually, and for those who request it, 72 hours before any application of a non-except pesticide that did not appear in the annual notice schedule.

What pesticides, formulations or application methods are EXEMPT from notification?

Self-contained baits (e.g., Cockroach baits, ant baits), disinfectants, biological cleansers, and crack & crevice pesticide applications, Category IV pesticides (under E.P.A. classification) are EXEMPT.

Where does the principal obtain the pesticide use information for notification purposes?

The superintendent is required to designate an IPM coordinator for the entire school district.  Principals can get pesticide use information from this individual.  If your school district does not have an IPM coordinator designated yet, contact the maintenance director for pesticide use information.

How does a principal notify parents, guardians and school staff about pesticide use?

Individual school districts and/or schools should determine the most effective and efficient method e.g. by broadcast telephone, email, a letter, posting the information on your school district’s website, publish in student/parent handbook or a combination of methods.  That is at the discretion of the school district.

How does the principal know who wants the 72 hr advance notification?

Your annual notice must include instructions for requesting notification in advance of un-scheduled applications of non-exempt pesticides at school.  Interested parents/guardians or, staff should follow the instructions to request notification.  Names and contact information of parents interested in 72-hour advance notification should be entered in a registry for future use.  (A sample form for requesting advanced notification of pesticide use is available in English and Spanish at http://www.pested.org/programs/school.html.)  Some school districts are choosing to simply notify every parent or guardian and staff potentially affected by the pesticide application, bypassing the need to keep track of who has requested notification and who has not.

What is the procedure for notifying parents/guardians and school staff in case of an emergency application?

If a non-exempt pesticide that is not on the annual notification plan must be used in a pest emergency, parents, guardians, and staff should be notified as soon as possible after the application.  A sample notification of emergency pesticide use is available at http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu and/or http://www.pested.org/programs/school.html

What is the effective date for the notification requirement?  

October 1, 2008

Are there any sample or model notification letters?  

Yes. Sample notification letters can be obtained from at http://schoolipm.ncsu.edu and/or http://www.pested.org/programs/school.html

Where can I get a copy of the School Children’s Health Act?  

You can download or read the school children’s health act from the website of the North Carolina State legislature at http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_115C/GS_115C-47.html