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July 7, 2006 – Senator Neville James issued a reminder to the Board of Education and the Department of Education of a recently passed Act stating all territorial public schools must be certified as environmentally safe before they are allowed to reopen for the new school year which begins August 28.
As chairperson of the Economic Development, Planning and Environmental Protection committee, Senator James submitted an amendment to the School management Accountability section of VIC Title 17 Chap. 3 Sec 24 which was signed into law by Governor Charles W. Turnbull on November 18th 2005.
Beginning this school year, The Education Department is required by law to consult with the Department of Health-Environmental Division, the Department of Labor (OSHA) and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources who will perform school inspections and certify that all public schools are environmentally safe.
"The Department of Education and the Board of Education routinely inspect the territories schools and report on any deficiencies they uncover," Senator James noted. "However it has become necessary to mandate environmental and safety professionals put their stamp of approval on the school buildings before our children and teachers begin a new school year."
"We have to learn from our mistakes and not let the situation which occurred at John H. Woodson School and Lew Muckle School reoccur," Senator James concluded.