Monday, August 31, 2015 09:31 AM
SPRINGFIELD – Almost a year ago, a faulty exhaust pipe at North Mac Intermediate School in Girard sent 150 students and staff to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Since last September, the school has installed carbon monoxide detectors, but at the time there were none.
Legislation requiring schools to install carbon monoxide detectors was signed into law Thursday. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) sponsored the proposal.
“Last year, Girard could have faced an unimaginably horrific tragedy. We have an obligation to protect children while at school and ensure something like this can’t happen again,” Manar said.
The law will require schools to install detectors within 20 feet of equipment that produce carbon monoxide. School buildings without carbon monoxide sources would be exempt.
“We always look for lessons learned, and installing the detectors was a preventative measure that we needed to take to assure everyone that our schools are safe from this threat,” said North Mac Superintendent Marica Cullen.
A similar incident occurred last October at Harper High School in Chicago when the school was evacuated and nine students were hospitalized.
State Representative Kathleen Willis (D-Addison) sponsored the proposal in the House.
The legislation was negotiated with the Illinois Association of School Boards and the Illinois School Management Alliance, which represent the interests of school administration in Springfield.
California, Connecticut and Maryland have similar requirements for carbon monoxide detectors in school buildings.
The new law, House Bill 152, takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Sen. Andy Manar
48th Legislative District
Years served: 2013 - Present
Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.
Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.