Letters to the Editor

Custodians’ job

August 28, 2009


To the editor:

The front page of the Aug. 26 Journal-World featured an article about Sunflower School second-graders filling the gap of professional custodians lost to budget cuts. The article goes a long way to put a positive spin on this, but as the owner of a custodial firm, I found the article concerning.

Especially in a time when MRSA and H1N1 are of such concern, I don’t think it is appropriate to have second-graders sanitizing desks and emptying trash. This puts the students doing the cleaning at risk and may put all students at risk, if the cleaning is not done effectively.

It is a major frustration to the janitorial and custodial profession that our work is not respected or valued. The fact that it is often the first to be cut from the budget is evidence of this. Professional custodians undergo special training and special certifications in order to effectively clean and sanitize buildings in such a way to minimize the spread of contaminants, pollutants, and infectious agents.

When hiring an outside contractor, schools have strict requirements for worker’s compensation and liability insurance. Professional custodians put themselves at risk through constant long-term chemical exposure, harsh physical work and exposure to various contaminants, pollutants and infectious agents.

As parents and teachers, you should ask yourself, “Is it safe and responsible to put our children at risk in this way?” This is a job that should be undertaken by professional custodians, and we should value their work and respect their profession.


lounger 6 years ago

"It is a major frustration to the janitorial and custodial profession that our work is not respected or valued". Wha?? oh please get a life....

Richard Heckler 6 years ago

There is a lot of talk about swine flu and money making innoculations that which guarantees nothing.

So where is the talk about healthier diets,rest and exercise to build the immune systems thus keeping our immune system prepared for a challenge.

Parents please do not your children to school sick.

So long as children are provided all of the same tools that custodians would have at their disposal how can they be in any more danger than an adult? Are these helpers being supervised by a custodian person?

labmonkey 6 years ago

I feel bad for the custodians who lost their jobs....who hasn't had a kooky grade school janitor growing up?

But give me a friggin break. Giving children responsibility is a bad thing? Our overprotective society is producing a bunch of wimps. Teaching children that cleaning up a mess is a good thing....then perhaps they will be a little more respectful in keeping their environment clean when they are the ones to have to clean it up. And if it is disgusting....then maybe it will give them some motivation to get good grades, and obtain a more respectful job (yea Jerri Johnson, I said it) when they get older.

Flap Doodle 6 years ago

In the O'dude's Brave New World, we will be fighting for custodial jobs.

lawrencechick 6 years ago

The kids are sitting in these desks all day, why are they at any more risk from wiping them off? I think it's a great idea that will encourage responsibility and cleanliness.

mom_of_three 6 years ago

When I was in grade school, we used to clean our own desks. And I don't see a problem with a child cleaning a surface that they use.
Now if they were cleaning the bathrooms, I would be concerned.

Jama Crady Maxfield 6 years ago

Buena Vista~give me a break. The kids are asked to help keep their room tidy, not clean the toilets.

Sheila Hooper White 6 years ago

You won't change the minds of the ones who think this is wrong. I tried to say the same things the other day and got bashed. They will argue with you and accuse you of sitting at home drawing state money. They don't get it. Do they actually believe every little child who goes to the restroom washes their hands. Don't get me wrong, we all hope they do but some probably don't. Dumping a few classroom trash cans and wiping of their desks and picking up their paper scraps off the floor is not going to hurt anyone.

The kids like to help. Get a grip!!

Sheila Hooper White 6 years ago

should say "wiping off".

And just b/c they help out doesn't mean they are going to catch the swine flu.

RoeDapple 6 years ago

BuenaVista, With so many mandated subjects required now, and sometimes only a matter of minutes per week spent on some of them, my question would be, what is being left out so that the janitorial work can be done?

KansasVoter 6 years ago

I wish that the people who are upset about the money spent on our schools were just as upset about the money wasted on our military.

d_prowess 6 years ago

I don't mind this debate, but I question the motives from the author here since he owns a janitorial company and may have his own interests in mind. (aka, people be a little more responsible for some of their messes and there is less work for his firm)

avoice 6 years ago

How many of you whiners get up in arms when your 4th grader is sent down the hall to be a "reading buddy" for a 1st grader? Shouldn't they get paid for teaching that other child? Aren't they just using your child as free labor instead of paying a para?

georgiahawk 6 years ago

I don't even know what an "educrat" is! Who and how many are making 6 figure incomes?

sinverguenza 6 years ago

Can anyone tell me how many of Lawrence's school janitors actually "undergo special training and special certifications in order to effectively clean and sanitize buildings in such a way to minimize the spread of contaminants, pollutants, and infectious agents"?

I've seen at least a couple of classifieds for custodians out at Tongie, and I got the distinct impression they weren't looking for the trained and certified-type. Also, effing seriously? Kids can't be asked to use a Clorox wipe on their sticky little desks? Puh-lease. Back in my day (I love saying that) we'd frequently come back to the classroom to find cigarette ash on the desk from where Judy the janitor had dropped it while she was "cleaning." Very sanitary.

The kids will live. And Clorox wipes rule; sorry environment.

MyName 6 years ago


Bad trolls are bad! Your license to troll has been revoked and your bandwidth has been reallocated to someone who will do something constructive with it, like downloading pr0n or something.

Go find an NEA meeting that you can arrested at for disturbing the peace or something.

To reflect on your actions, please write: "I will leave the trolling to professionals." 50 times on the chalkboard.

Jama Crady Maxfield 6 years ago

Buena Vista~ You didn't answer the question. What educators are making six figures? Principals? Ok. Who else????

blakec 6 years ago

Well, luckily I want my kid to be a janitor when he grows up, so this is great training.

Sheila Hooper White 6 years ago

Why do some people think being a custodian is a joke? It's a job!!! Just b/c it's not the best paying job doesn't mean custodian they don't deserve respect. My family is doing just fine, as I stated yesterday, and thankfully my husband and I have jobs. So why should he be ashamed to be a custodian?

Sheila Hooper White 6 years ago

oops! should say:

Just b/c it's not the best paying job doesn't mean they don't deserve respect.

Drew_Carey 6 years ago

1000 pts for hillbilly jim's apples.

kansastruthteller 6 years ago

This is akin to a restaurant having to make cuts and instead of the owner pitching in to bus tables, he/she asks the customers to do it.

In any business, public or private, when you make cuts and are lacking staff, management, which in this case should be the principal, should be the one doing the cleaning, not the kids.

puddleglum 6 years ago

man, I don't know about all this crud, but I do know that the best job I ever had was being a custodian-forget it, dude-I was a janitor. Now I make like 4 times the amount, but czech this out. when I was janitor, I was allowed to work for about 25 minutes, but get paid for 8 hours a day. heck, I even had another job at the gas station, so I was making like $26.00 an hour. I'd just take out the trash, lock the door-and leave. then go to the phillips 66 and work for another seven hours-double paycheckin' at the school districts expense (charity)...twas pretty cool. ironically, I had to quit one day, because the lock on the front door of the building was broken-and I shoved a board through the door handles to 'lock' em up..... the supervisor was unhappy about having to pry open the doors the next day, but i explained how I had called the 'head janitor' and he was DDDDDdrunk and he couldn't do anything about it,so i improvised......well, this went on for awhile, and i had to get to my job at the gas station, so in the end it all got jacked up. sweet.

puddleglum 6 years ago

oh yeah....I worked at a lawrence school btw.

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