Dangerous Monsanto Chemical Remains in Thousands of Schools: What Can Parents Do?

Children exposed to PCBs have been found to have lowered performance on memory, psychomotor and behavioral tests, and reduced IQ.  What can you do to protect your child(ren)?

Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are toxic industrial chemicals that were produced by Monsanto and used in caulk and other building materials until they were banned by Congress in the late 1970s. Caulking laced with PCBs is most likely to be found in schools and other buildings constructed or remodeled between 1950 and the late 1970s.

In addition to caulking, old fluorescent light fixtures may contain PCBs in ballasts, components that regulate the current to the lamp. These fixtures with PCBs are past their useful life spans and could rupture, which would expose kids and teachers in the buildings to PCBs.

There are tens of thousands of schools built during the PCB era that have not been tested for PCBs, and which are highly likely to contain these chemicals, potentially endangering the health of students and teachers. Schools should test for PCBs in caulking, air and dust. School systems with older fluorescent light fixtures should develop disposal plans.

Concerned parents should ask these questions of a school or school district:

  • When was the school built?
  • Were there any major renovations during the 1950s through the 1970s, when PCBs may have been used in caulk and other building materials?
  • Has the school or school district conducted a PCB survey?
  • Were any major renovations undertaken after 1979? If so, did anyone test for PCBs and remove contaminated materials?
  • If PCB testing was done, what type was it: air testing, dust sampling or caulk testing?
  • Has the school publicly released all testing results, the testing method and the name and accreditation of the testing lab?
  • If PCBs were found above the legal limit of 50 parts per million, what actions were taken to test the rest of the building?
  • Has the school conducted an inventory of all fluorescent lights to identify which ones might have ballasts made with PCBs and should be removed immediately?
  • What is the school’s overall plan for removal and disposal of all PCB-contaminated fluorescent light ballasts?
  • If the school building was constructed or renovated during the 1950s through the 1970s and no testing has been done, ask them to test caulk, air and dust.
  • If any PCB sources are detected, ask the school to develop a public, transparent PCB removal and remediation plan.

PCB contamination is not the only environmental challenge facing schools. School administrators must cope with wide range of other environmental hazards, including asbestos, radon, mold, toxic cleaning chemicals, pesticides, and lead in drinking water. While this report focuses on the health risks of PCBs in schools and what parents can do to find out about them and reduce their children’s exposures, America must make a substantial investment in school infrastructure to address school environmental health issues.

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Missing School Can Lead To Chronic Absenteeism

Chronic Absenteeism

Have you ever heard of Chronic Absenteeism? It was a new word for me. Are you one of those parents who make your kid go to school, even when they are sick? Or are you more likely to just let them stay home and figure the rest out later?

We all know things happen, kids get sick, last minute vacations, deaths in the family – I could go on. But that isn’t really what we are talking about here. For most of us, we are very blessed in the fact that we have the tools, resources, and wherewithal to make sure our kids do not fall behind if they do have to miss school. Chronic absenteeism is more than that. There are MILLIONS of children all over the United States who are missing school due to struggling in the classroom, having trouble with bullies, or dealing with challenges at home.  These are the students who are falling behind and struggling to graduate later in life.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8SIX2o2N1c]As a parent, you’re in a powerful position to help your child both improve their grades and increase their love of learning. Parents who get involved with their children’s schools—by meeting teachers, attending afterschool and sporting events, participating in PTA meetings, and volunteering in the classroom—are more likely to be able to advocate for their children within the school community.

A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when absences are excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year.

Chronic Absenteeism

To combat chronic absenteeism, the U.S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Ad Council have partnered to create the public service campaign Absences Add Up. Absences Add Up is part of the My Brother’s Keeper Every Student, Every Day initiative, a broad effort to combat chronic absenteeism led by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice.

The Absences Add Up campaign directs parents and community members to AbsencesAddUp.org, where they can find information about the importance of school attendance and resources to learn how to help children who are struggling in school, being bullied, managing chronic illness, or addressing mental health challenges. The site also provides parents with resources to assist with caregiving, housing and food challenges. For teachers, community leaders, after school programs, and mentoring partners, there is information about how to encourage school attendance and resources to help address issues like poor grades, bullying, and family challenges that cause children to miss school when they don’t have to.

Chronic Absenteeism

Tips and Suggestions

  • Keep track of how many days of school your child has missed.
  • Figure out why your child is absent from school.
    • Are they dealing with a chronic illness like asthma?
    • Are they being bullied or struggling at school?
    • Are they staying home to help care for a family member?
  • Visit AbsencesAddUp.org to find help addressing the underlying cause of your child’s absences.
    • Ask teachers and community leaders for advice and specific resources in your area.
    • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other parents in your area to ask for help and share tips.

Chronic Absenteeism

HELP US SHOW PARENTS HOW TO HELP THEIR KIDS! Spread the word on Social Media.


  • 12 family emergency days + 6 vacation days = risk of not making it to graduation day. Visit AbsencesAddUp.org today. #AbsencesAddUp
  • 2 absences per month = less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. #AbsencesAddUp AbsencesAddUp.org


  • Every Child Deserves A Chance! Attending school every day increases a child’s chances of success in school and in life. That’s why I support the U. S. Department of Education, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, My Brother’s Keeper, and the Ad Council’s #AbsencesAddUp campaign—because every child deserves a chance at success. http://absencesaddup.org/ #EveryStudentEveryDay #MyBrothersKeeper

Top 5 Tips to Prepare Your Teen for High School

It can be jarring to go from middle school to high school, and your teen might not
always be ready for such a transition. There are all sorts of new students, probably a
larger campus, and a new class structure that your child will have to familiarize him- or
herself with, and such a task can seem daunting, even to you. As a parent, there are
actually a few things to make sure your teen is properly prepared for his or her high
school experience, and most of them don’t actually cost a thing.

  • Time Management

Learning how to balance your time is an important part of being in high school.
Your teen will likely play some sports or join a club of some type, so you want to make
sure you’re instilling habits and practices around the house that will help your teenager
be familiar with good time management and understand its importance — it’ll become
especially vital as your teen starts to take on more and more responsibility.

  • Don’t Let Eighth Grade Get too Easy

One of the biggest problems with the end of middle school is that it gets way too
easy right before the transition to high school takes place. You can help avoid this by
encouraging learning-oriented activities and making sure your teen takes care of regular
responsibilities around the house.

  • Discourage an Idle Summer

With the end of middle school being as easy as it has a tendency to be, and the
uninterrupted of relative freedom and independence that follows it, the transition to a
brand new high [Read more…]

Great Back-To-School Clothing with @FrenchToastcom

Little Man is about to enter Kindergarten- which is both very exciting, and making me feel like a sad sack all at the same time, LOL. He will be attending a school that requires uniforms, which will make getting dressed in the morning all that much easier.

He looks like such a big boy! Everything he is wearing is from French Toast, the clothing and school uniform company. We did shop around, and I can say without a doubt that this is the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to get his uniforms. I think it is also the best, and though this year his school is not registered with French Toast, I hope to encourage them to to so by next year. I was not thrilled having to go to a store 25 minutes away, stand in line, make my order, then wait 30 minutes more to have it filled just for a few things that needed to be embroidered. VERY annoying. French Toast does it all- plus faster, less costly, and delivers to my door with the same school uniform quality you would get in the pricey store. BLAH.

PLUS, they give participating schools 5% cash back on all orders. Why would any school that requires uniforms not [Read more…]