H.4814 – Legislating procedures for mold inspection in local schools

This bill spells out procedures for dealing with mold in public school facilities. It tasks both the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the Department of Education (DOE) with developing procedures, policies and standards for mold inspection, removal, containment, abatement of the original cause of the mold, public notification, record-keeping, and reporting. However, the SBOE’s and DOE’s respective roles under this bill overlap, creating duplicative responsibilities.

This bill raises a number of questions. Why mold standards in public schools are the responsibility of the DOE rather than the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is unclear. More importantly, how to deal with mold is not something that needs to be dictated by state law. Health and safety policies and procedures should be handled within the DOE, with the assistance of DHEC. The fact that some lawmakers feel this law is needed simply demonstrates their distrust of their own educational regulatory system – a system they control.

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