LAUSD Faces Federal, State, & County Pesticide Violations

Tags: , , ,

Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Jeff Ruch (510) 213-7028


LAUSD Faces Federal, State, & County Pesticide Violations

School District Hobbles Independent Pesticide Oversight Committee Function


Washington, DC — In the past year, the Los Angeles Unified School District has been hit with a wide range of pesticide violations from federal, state, and county authorities.  At the same time, LAUSD officials are hampering the operations of its nationally regarded oversight committee, according to documents posted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The recent enforcement actions against the second largest K-12 school district in the nation, which covers 710 square miles, including most of the city of L.A. along with all or portions of 25 cities and unincorporated areas of L.A. County, cover a range of malfeasance:

  • A February 2, 2024 Notice of Warning from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for using an unapproved rodenticide as ground squirrel bait on several campuses;
  • A December 12, 2023 citation and fine from the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner for “failure to ensure that pesticide handlers are trained properly” and
  • A wide-ranging May 17, 2023 investigation by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, which found four violations, including one for lapses in the district’s Respiratory Protection Program for workers.

“These citations indicate that the safety of LAUSD students and staff may be at risk from unauthorized pesticides applied without notice by improperly trained technicians, among other problems,” commented Pacific PEER Director Jeff Ruch, “This is a time when the LAUSD’s pesticide program appears to need more oversight, not less.”

As these enforcement actions mounted, LAUSD administrators are taking steps to defang its 15-member Integrated Pest Management Committee, which is chartered to provide oversight to its pesticide program. Among LAUSD obstructions include –

  • Failure to fill three vacancies on the 15-member Committee including the slot reserved for a physician; and preventing the Committee from meeting, claiming that unspecified “certain conditions” have not been met.
  • Declining to report which pesticides are being used at what locations. For example, LAUSD claimed that no pesticides had been used in the month of December despite several reports of infestation.
  • LAUSD has created an internal “Ad Hoc Committee” to replace the current Committee.

“There is cause for concern that LAUSD is trying to get rid of this independent oversight committee altogether,” added Ruch, noting that the Committee was created as a reform 25 years ago in response to parental concerns about pesticide use in the district.  “Rather than retreating to a bureaucratic bunker, this should be a time for LAUSD to return to the commitments of parental involvement and independent oversight that had made it a national model for school pesticide program management.”


See the L.A. County citation

Read the California Department of Pesticide Regulation notice

Look at the U.S. EPA warning

Examine attempts to prevent Committee meetings

Count the Committee vacancies as of March 2024

View December report of “No Pesticides Used”

Note emergence of “Ad Hoc Committee”

Phone: 202-265-7337

962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 610
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4453

Copyright 2001–2024 Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility

PEER is a 501(c)(3) organization
EIN: 93-1102740