The Council Rock School District is one of eleven school districts in seven counties to participate in a statewide Chemical Cleanout Campaign this week to improve students’ safety through proper management of materials used in science class.

The school district consists of 16 schools covering students in grades K-12 throughout Newtown and the surrounding area.

To qualify for the cleanout, teachers from the schools had to participate in chemical management training last fall and take inventory in the winter. The training included topics such as Hazard Awareness & Chemical Safety and Development of a Chemical Hygiene Plan. Teachers were also educated on how to replace how risk chemicals with low risk ones and how to properly store and dispose of them.

Under DEP supervision, the cleanouts this week will involved approved contractor taking hazardous and nonhazardous wastes to their proper disposal facilities.

“We’re committed to helping schools protect their students, faculty, and staff by preventing problems with mishandled chemicals,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “Lab accidents can and do happen at schools. To help reduce risk, we train teachers and staff on the full spectrum of chemical use in teaching, from thoughtful purchasing to safe handling, storage, and disposal.”

State Rep. Perry Warren applauded Council Rock for its efforts.

“I’m pleased to see Council Rock School District taking the proactive steps to participate in this program,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “Proper training to ensure chemicals are handled, stored and disposed of properly will help protect students and staff and keep our schools safe.”

As of August 9, 2018 the DEP will have removed more than 57,000 pounds of chemicals from 180 schools since the program’s inception in 2011.

The program is offered free of charge to schools and training for the upcoming year’s cleanout begins in October. The campaign is offered as part of the Department of Education’s Safe Schools Initiative.