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Facilities Planning

Guiding Principles for Improving the Environmental Quality of Schools


Although focused on teaching and learning, education must also address the need to maintain a safe, secure, and healthy school environment. The capacity of children to learn is impeded if their school environment contains elements that are hazardous to their health.  The State Education Department and educators throughout the State of New York have a responsibility to assure the school community and the public that, based on the best available knowledge, school buildings are safe, healthy, clean, and in good repair.

In December 1994, the New York State Board of Regents adopted the following guiding principles developed by the Regents Advisory Committee on Environmental Quality in Schools:

  • Every child has a right to an environmentally safe and healthy learning environment that is clean and in good repair.
  • Every child, parent, and school employee has a "right to know" about environmental health issues and hazards in their school environment.
  • School officials and appropriate public agencies should be held accountable for environmentally safe and healthy school facilities.
  • Schools should serve as role models for environmentally responsible behavior.
  • Federal, State, local, and private sector entities should work together to ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently to address environmental health and safety concerns.