Integrated Pest Management

Eliminating Toxic Pesticides From Your School

Pesticides and herbicides kill bothersome insects, rodents and weeds, but scientists have found that they hurt people too, especially kids. Some chemicals in pesticides can cause cancer and learning disabilities in children. This part of the program helps your school switch to a less toxic way to control pests called “Integrated Pest Management,” which keeps away the pests but is more healthy for people and the environment.

Level One: Assess your school and form a Green Flag Team

The Green Flag School Program for Environmental Leadership

The Green Flag School assists communities improve the health of their school in four areas: Non-Toxic Products, Integrated Pest Management, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Indoor Air Quality.

To begin the Green Flag School program, every school must complete Level 1.

Complete the following five steps to create the foundation for a strong working group, and begin to establish lines of communication among students, staff, community members and administrators, and receive the Level 1 Award, the Green Flag!

  • Step 1:Build Your Green Flag Team

    Form a group of dedicated students, staff, faculty, parents, PTA/O chapters and/or community members. The Green Flag Team (GFT) should include a number of students and at least one adult member, but it is better if a whole team of adults is involved. If the team is adult-based, it should include at least one faculty member, one parent and one school staff member (school nurse, librarian, maintenance person, etc.).

    To form your group, make a list of people you think might be interested, and contact them or speak to them at a school event. Collect their contact information so you can invite them to an initial meeting. If your school already has an environmental group or club, they can become a Green Flag team.

    If necessary, once you have a few committed people, meet with your principal and decide what school groups you want to work with, such as an after or in -school environmental club, individual classes, grades, or the entire school.

  • Step 2: Conduct the Green Flag School Environmental Survey

    Complete the Green Flag School Environment Survey, designed to help you and your team evaluate your school’s environmental status. The information gathered will help you to choose an area to focus on. Students should engage in filling out the survey, as they will be more engaged in working to improve their environment if they see firsthand what it is that needs to be improved (and why!).

    Be sure to incorporate the facilities department in your survey research. Their knowledge of the inner-workings of the building, its history, and its needs will prove invaluable in your work.

  • Step 3: Hold a Meeting

    Invite the members of school community, including students, parents, teachers, and school staff and administrators to attend a first meeting through email, phone, flyers, and community newsletters. The meeting goal can be to form the Green Flag team, or it can be part of a larger gathering, such as a PTA meeting. Make an agenda, and give several people roles in the meeting, such as facilitator, note taker, greeter, attendance taker, and timekeeper. This meeting will allow you to spread the work about your goals, clue in the general public to your efforts, and connect you with community people who may serve as resources.

  • Step 4: Review your Progress with the Green Flags Coordinator

    E-mail, submit through our website, or fax your Level 1 Survey, complete with your Green Flag Team members names. Also submit a short write-up of your informational meeting. Include who was invited, who attended, and when and where the meeting occurred.

    CPOC Coordinator
    Childproofing our Communities Coordinator
    The Center for Health, Environment and Justice
    PO Box 6806
    Falls Church, Virginia 22040 – 6806
    Phone: (703) 237 – 2249
    Fax: (703) 237 – 8389

  • Step 5: Rewards for Level One

    At the end of level one, you will receive the Green Flag, which will have four empty boxes corresponding to the four program areas to fill in as you go through the program and your school will be listed on the Green Flag website as a Green Flag school.

Level Two: Finding and Sharing Information

To receive the Level Two award for Integrated Pest Management, your Green Flag Team must:

1. Learn about the issue:

Complete the Level Two Survey to get an in-depth look at the pest management practices at your school. Be sure to work with the maintenance and facilities staff, school administration and any environmental committees or organizations to fully understand the program.
Research your school’s IPM policies and programs and your state’s IPM policy if they exist.

2. Share what you’ve learned

Make presentations to educate and motivate the community. Good places to have a presentation are classes, assemblies, and after-school events. See Presentation Examples for more ideas.

3. Complete one Classroom Activity

Use our list of Classroom Activities to choose one, or come up with your own!

4. Send all documentation to the Green Flag Coordinator

Send the Level II survey and documentation or a brief description of the presentations and classroom activity to the CHEJ Green Flag School coordinator.

5. Rewards for Level Two:

Four free Green Flag T-shirts (more can be ordered for $13.50 each).
A description of the activities of your Green Flag team will be posted on the Green Flag website


Level Three: Creating or Improving Policies

To receive the Level Three award for Integrated Pest Management, your Green Flag Team must:
(If you have an existing IPM program in your school, skip to #4)

1. Find out what needs to be done:

Talk with the Green Flag Program Coordinator to review your level two survey and discuss how you can implement a IPM Policy.
Research Integrated Pest Management policies already in place in some schools.
Create a detailed plan, with the help of school administrators and custodial staff to propose and create a IPM policy.

2. Present your ideas to decision makers:

Make written recommendations to school decision makers, based on the health risks of pesticide use, successful IPM policies in other schools, the proposed cost savings, etc.

Prepare to make a presentation to decision makers. Research alternatives to pesticides and how they could be implemented in your school. Make notes to help you explain the problem with pesticides clearly and the alternatives you’ve found. Prepare materials to give to decision makers, and a letter explaining the changes that you want to see in school policy and purchasing to improve the situation.

Make a presentation to decision makers, such as the principal, school board, or PTA. In order to make sure your case is well heard, bring along many people that support you and your team. At the end of the meeting, present your policy change request letter, and thank the decision-makers for meeting with you.

3. Develop an IPM Policy, and get it approved:

With the school administration, facilities department and an experienced IPM company or local expert, develop an Integrated Pest Management policy. See the IPM Policies on this website for examples.

Pass the policy and begin implementation, with the help of an Integrated Pest Management expert.

Submit your IPM Policy, and any monitoring tools that your school uses (Pest Sighting Logs, documention of IPM strategies, etc.) to the Green Flag Program Coordinator.

Complete one of the classroom activities.


4. Improving existing IPM policies:

If you already have an effective pest management policy in your school you may improve your school’s IPM program by completing one of the following activities and one of the classroom activities. Implement or improve an existing Right-to-Know Policy. Ask if your school has a Right to Know policy, so parents, students and staff will be notified when the pesticides are applied at the school.

Submit documentation of your school’s Right to Know policy on school letterhead to the Green Flag Coordinator.

Create a IPM handbook to assit the school staff implement the policy.

With your school’s maintenance staff, begin using staff Pest Sighting Logs in your school.

Sign up other students to join the Green Flag Team and use the Pest Sighting Log.

Have a work party. Help with weeding, mulching, pruning and other maintenance duties to eliminate herbicide use.

Form an IPM school inspection team that identifies places where pests could get into your school, and develop ways to block those entryways.

Organize and/or participate in a neighborhood clean up day in or around the school grounds. Clean school grounds mean less pests!

Have at least twenty teachers or staff sign a pest management statement where they agree to:

1. Not bring pest management chemicals from home for use in school
2. Bring food into classrooms only in tightly sealed containers and clean them thoroughly after eating
3. Use the Pest Sighting Log o Allow IPM presentations in their classrooms if appropriate.

5. Rewards for Level Three:

The patch for Integrated Pest Management to add to your Flag.

A certificate of acheivement from the CHEJ Green Flag School Program.

A description of the activities of your Green Flag team will be posted on the Green Flag website.

Integrated Pest Management Resources