At the beginning of every school year, students receive a list of items they are asked to supply classrooms. Facial tissue, paper towels and often cleaning wipes are commonly listed. In most cases, teachers and students use these items to help reduce germs in the classroom.

In one Massachusetts school, students used the disinfecting cleaning wipes to clean classroom desks and tables. The paper towels were used by students on lunchroom tables after staff members sprayed a disinfectant.

Learning of this, one parent became concerned and contacted officials with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. The argument was that children should not be exposed to these chemicals, stating that it was a safety concern.

After filing a complaint, a pesticide inspector sent a “letter of warning” to school officials stating that the school had violated a section of state law about using a pesticide in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.

“Cease and desist having children use products that have ‘Keep out of reach of children’ on the label,” the letter said. “Keep these products in locked cabinets or closets and away from the students’ access.”

School officials commented that they are following the order regarding the chemicals and that student safety is their number one priority. But the situation has caused other parents to wonder why students are responsible for cleaning at all, while others don’t see a problem with it.

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