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Could You Excel In this Environment?


Dr. Sanjay Gupta

On January 14 and 15, “CNN Presents” aired coverage of Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s visit to Southern Middle School in Reading, Pennsylvania. The episode looked at districts in several states, but Reading stood out as a district in dire straits. The video footage from Reading showed mold and mildew, leaking buildings, and rain pouring into a classroom.

The poor indoor environmental quality of this school and many more around the country has a devastating impact on the health and performance of the students and staff who study and work in these buildings every day. Poor indoor environ-mental quality is linked to asthma, respiratory illness, headaches, and other short and long term health problems and asthma alone is one of the leading causes of absenteeism in the United States, causing many students to miss school or be tardy each day.

By agreeing to have the building filmed the educational leaders of Reading helped to make the point that it should not matter where a student goes to school. Every student deserves a healthy school and that takes commitment, will, and funding. It also takes a willingness to work together.

As Reading Education Association president Bryan Sanguanito said in his blog on January 17, at, “As the adults charged with the solemn responsibility of shaping the lives of young people, it is incumbent upon us to redefine success for our students by redefining our relationships with one another.”

It is the responsibility of the entire community to find ways to work together to create and sustain healthy schools. Through our contributions to Public School Insights, we want to continue to highlight the many successful school health initiatives that are making a difference for students. 


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