School is supposed to be a place you send your child to get an education, to be well looked after, and to thrive. It surely can be that place, but first, you must do your homework, all the way down to the water in U.S. elementary schools.
Yes, you heard me right. Even the water our kids drink while at school could pose risks to their health.
Not to worry, mom and dad. In this article, we will supply you and your family with all the right tools you need to make informed decisions.
The Research Rundown
First to note that schools don’t intend to harm our kids. Teachers and administrative staff don’t spend years getting professional degrees to see our kids fail. While some aspects of the schooling system may need improvement, overall, it can be a great environment for your child to grow up in.
That being said, you still have a responsibility to your child, your family, and your community to ask questions, to get answers, and to make change happen where it needs to. And if you face some resistance along the way, you may just be doing something right.
So where should your focus be? It should be on the sanitation facilities and practices your elementary school uses. Take a look below at some of the key factors affecting your local school’s water supply that you should be aware of:
- What is the name of the sanitation facility that supplies the school’s water? Find out the sanitation facility responsible for the schools water supply and do some research of their track record and findings in their water supply over the years.
- What does the filtration process look like? Look into the filtration and storage processes used before the water is transported to the school for consumption. If the water treatment process isn’t thorough enough, it could pose threats to your child’s health.
- What is the source of your water? You will want to know if the water supply is from well water, spring water, rain water, piped water, or freshwater. Also, make sure to find out if there are any dump sites nearby. These can seep chemicals or other toxic pollutants into the water supply.
- When was the most recent lead test performed and which were the results? It’s important to find out if the water supply has abnormally high levels of lead present. If there are no recent tests to look at, request that one be done so that you and the community are made aware of any potential hazards.
- What hardware is used? Old or outdated hardware may be eroding toxic particles into the water
Now, these are just a few of the questions you should be asking. Keep your ears open. More questions will likely arise from the findings of the five questions above. The main idea here is to determine how safe the water supply is.
Approaching The ASK
There is a time and a place for everything and the debate over the water in U.S. elementary schools is no different. Go to your district officials and ask for a public hearing. This setting gives everyone a chance to be heard and interested parties can get the answers they need to move forward. In other terms, work smarter, not harder. When it comes time for the hearing, keep it simple, and just remember to ASK:
A - Allow the opposing party to explain their side and provide evidence to support it.
S - Speak your mind, but be polite and reasonable, providing evidence of your own.
K - Know the outcome you wish to achieve, and align everything you say with that outcome.
Parents are entitled to answers concerning the dangers their kids face while at school. Kids are entitled to have safe, sanitary water supply. Elementary schools are entitled to get advice from the community which will help them improve, if necessary. But they are also responsible for providing safe water to our children. So empower yourself and work together.
You may find that your school is doing everything right. But if they do need some improvements, you may find you’re all on the same side.
What’s important is that once you get the answers, respond accordingly, and keep pushing until you see necessary changes.
Oh the “ebbs and flows” of parenthood. Read more about other ways to keep your family safe from high levels of lead in U.S. water.