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Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

Plan To Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors In Schools Headed To Governor

US CPSC/flickr

A bill awaiting Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature would require Illinois schools to install carbon monoxide detectors.

One Monday morning last fall, some students and teachers at North Mac Middle School in Girard weren’t feeling well. The health teacher, Alan Love, who also happens to be a registered nurse, told superintendent Marica Cullen the school might have a gas leak.

“And I could just tell from the look on his face, he wasn’t speaking to me as a teacher, he was speaking to me as a nurse….So we called an evacuation of the building. And actually it was later on that it was determined that it was carbon monoxide,” she said. 

The leak was traced to a faulty water heater. About 150 students and staff were treated at area emergency rooms. The incident inspired legislation requiring all schools install alarms that can detect this odorless, colorless gas.

“You can’t taste it, you can’t smell it, you can’t see it, which makes it very insidious," she added. "At that time, we didn’t know if we had a gas leak. We did not know what was going on. We just knew we had sick people in the building, and let’s get them out of the building.”

The measure has passed the General Assembly. If it’s signed into law, it will take effect in January.

After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.
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