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School Building Health, Safety, and Fire Inspections

To:Superintendents of Schools, Charter School Leaders, and School Principals
From:David P. Driscoll, Commissioner of Education
Date:April 25, 2007

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It has come to my attention that a number of the Commonwealth's school buildings may not have current health, safety, and fire inspections. Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, sec. 68, school committees, under the direction of municipal officials, are responsible for ensuring that school buildings are well-maintained for the use of students and other members of the school community. Proper maintenance of school buildings must include regular building health, safety, and fire inspections. These inspections are to be done on a prescribed timeline as determined by the city or town, unless otherwise directed by a state agency or another authority, for each building to which students have access. This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed immediately in order to ensure the health and safety of all children and staff members throughout the school day, as well as in after-school programs.

Therefore, I ask that you review the status of these inspections for the school buildings in your district, update the inspections if necessary, and work with your local building inspector, health inspector, and fire department officials to take the necessary steps to address any concerns.

To highlight the importance of having these inspections current, we will include a statement to that effect in the annual Assurances Statement document that school superintendents must sign and submit to the Department of Education each year as a condition of the release of certain federal and state funds. Also, we will include a reminder about having up-to-date inspections in our annual Back to School mailing.

If you have questions regarding your responsibilities in this area, I suggest that you contact your school legal counsel or town counsel.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.



Last Updated: May 8, 2007

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