GREEN FLAG SCHOOL

Fernangeles Elementary

 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                    
FOR SEPTEMBER 18, 2003


LOCAL CONTACT:              Robina Suwol
                                                 818- 261-7965 (cell)
                                                 818-785-5515 (work)
                                                  robinasuwol@earthlink.net

Four Schools Receive National Environmental Awards

WHAT:  
    Fernangeles and Aldama Elementary, and Millikan and Sun Valley Middle Schools are receiving national awards for its outstanding environmental work.  The school is one of more than a dozen schools that are receiving awards as part of the national launch of the Green Flag Program. The student-driven Green Flag Program will award the schools for completing the first level of the program, and will hold an award ceremony featuring students, teachers, local leaders.    


WHO:     Angelo Bellomo, Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety for Los Angeles Unified School District,                 Robina Suwol, Executive Director of California Safe Schools
                Julie Korenstein, LA. School Board member  
                State Senator Richard Alarcon
                State Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez              
                State Assemblyman Paul Koretz
                Cindy Wong, PTA
                Karen Maiorca, Head of Nurses in LAUSD
                Martin Schlageter, Coalition for Clean Air
                Margie Klein, Center for Health, Environment and Justice
                Students
                Teachers

Four Los Angeles Schools Receive National Environmental Award

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, four L.A. United School District schools won national recognition
for their outstanding environmental work.  Aldama and Fernangeles Elementary and Millikan, and
Sun Valley Middle are among the first schools to participate in the national Green Flag Program,
which works with schools to teach kids a hands-on approach to solving environmental health problems
before they start.  At an award ceremony at Fernageles, California Safe Schools’ Executive Director
Robina Suwol presented the four schools with awards for their achievements.

The program also presented LAUSD Director of Environmental Health and Safety Angelo Bellomo
a certificate of recognition for the district’s environmental health efforts in the past, and cited the
districts outstanding integrated pest management program as one of the reasons Green Flag chose
 to have LA schools among the first to participate in the program nationally. 

“We are excited to support a program that raises environmental awareness in schools on a grassroots
 level, it perfectly compliments what we are trying to accomplish throughout the district,” said Bellomo.
 
The Green Flag Program was founded by Lois Gibbs, the activist and housewife who 25 years ago
 battled toxic waste in Love Canal, New York, and won.  Robina Suwol worked with Gibbs to
bring the program to Los Angeles.  Now the director of California Safe Schools, Robina got
involved with environmental issues when her son Nicolas became sick after his school was sprayed
 with pesticides.

“There are many school programs that teach young people about the environment, the Green Flag
 Program is the first that teaches them how the environment effects their health," said Suwol.
  "In this program, students learn how to prevent environmental health problems before they start."
  We at California Safe Schools are proud to work with CHEJ to help implement the program in
 LAUSD schools.”

Through the Green Flag Program, kids become detectives, proactively investigating potential
 environmental hazards, such as pesticide spraying, toxic cleaning products, and mold, and
stopping them before they become a problem.  The program then encourages students to work
 with teachers, administrators, facilities people, parents, businesses and community members to
 ensure that their school environment is safe and healthy for kids.

Gibbs was inspired to create the Green Flag Program after the Child Proofing Our Communities
 Campaign, which she founded, reported that in hundreds of schools across country, children
were experiencing environmental hazards that were making them sick. “One after another,
 we heard horror stories of kids sick with rashes, asthma, or worse,” said Gibbs.

When it became clear that many of these problems could be prevented, Gibbs decided to
 start a program to teach school communities to take precautions.

“The Green Flag Program is dedicated to hands on education,” said Robina Suwol, director of California Safe Schools.  “Kids learn about environmental health threats by investigating their own surroundings, and then they learn how to ask for safer alternatives.  This is so much  more than facts and figures – it’s about teaching the kids to be good citizens.”

For more information on California Safe Schools, see www.calisafe.org.