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.