Gianaris Bed Bug Legislation Signed Into Law
State Senator Michael Gianaris’ Bed Bug Notification Bill for city Public Schools was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Gianaris wrote and first introduced the legislation in 2007, when he was a member of the Assembly. The legislation requires that the Parent Teacher Association and all parents of potentially affected school children receive notification from school health officials upon detection of bed bugs in their child’s school. The notification includes informational brochures that enable parents to take preventative steps and make more informed decisions regarding the health and safety of their children and families. “The best way to combat bed bug cases is to educate parents and teachers,” Gianaris said. “Children should be able to go to school and get a good education without the threat of bed bugs hindering their ability to learn.” The number of confirmed cases of beg bugs in public schools has severely increased in the last academic year, according to recent statistics released by the city Department of Education. Public schools reported 1,700 confirmed cases from September 2010 through January 2011, with 80 percent of the cases reported in November, December and January. Compared to last year’s total of 1,019 cases, schools are on pace to triple the number of bed bug inflictions this academic year. In 2010, city officials pledged $500,000 to raise public awareness in an effort to fight the bed bug epidemic. The Department of Education’s Office of School Support Services also implemented a four-step protocol for handling potential bed bug cases in schools.