On Saturday, Aug. 22nd, 2015, even after hundreds of emails and phone calls requesting not to use rodenticides on the Malibu Schools, Superintendent Sandra Lyon made the final decision to spread more poisons at Malibu High, Juan Cabrillo and Webster.The two poisons chosen by SMMUSD are strychnine and Fumitoxin. Strychnine is an example of a very dangerous and unpopular poison making a comeback. Strychnine has NO antidote and acts very quickly. Thus, it is especially dangerous.

The EPA has placed Fumitoxin in its highest toxicity category, “Category 1 Danger.”  “Danger” means that the pesticide product is highly toxic if eaten, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled. The compound converts to a deadly phosphine gas when it comes in contact with moisture. The application manual for Fumitoxins clearly states that there should be no entrance to treated areas for a minimum of 3 days but based on the climate in Malibu, the recommendation is 4-5 days. Yet, Lyon told AYSO families and parents that come Monday, Aug 24th, 48 hours after applying Fumitoxin, that it was safe. This is clearly incorrect and once again she is putting children in harms way. For their safety, please keep your kids off the fields at these schools.

From a Webster Parent stated based on the table in the Fumitoxin manual: “Tonight it will be 63 degrees, so a 96 hour/4 day minimum is required. A week from tomorrow is the second safest play.  Number 1 safest play is to attend a school that doesn’t use poisons.”

February 12, 2014, the Department of Pesticide Regulation cited SMMUSD for improper notification and use of pesticides. But Lyon’s actions this week show she did’t learn much despite her response in the Santa Monica Daily Press in 2014, “We will look for responsible ways to balance the range of requests from toxin-free to pest-free, including insects and rodents,” she said. “Our goal will be to find a healthy balance.” Clearly, she didn’t mean what she said.

Another parent stated in an email, “It sucks to have to say you can’t trust the SMMUSD, but transparency and common sense, especially when it comes to Malibu, have been non-existant.”

Poison Free Malibu Organization wrote to Lyon last week, “We have suggested viable and safe Integrated Pest Management (“IPM”) recommendations and experts to execute these recommendations. The strategy is based on Clean Up, Seal Up, and Trap Up. By using these techniques consistently, rodents can be controlled without poisons.”

A CA Licensed Pest control owner/operator added, “I will attest that I have toured the Campus and in my determination as an Agricultural Specialist, that IPM protocols were not implemented at MHS…I offered to begin implementing at no cost to the district, and my offer was ignored.”

In a letter from America Unites (AU) urged Lyon to not use rodenticides and instead use the one of the two free IPM options provided to the district by generous experts. AU wrote, “Carefully consider the health and safety of the school children and the environment in which they live when making your decisions and please respect the wishes of the city and its occupants to not use rodenticides, as your actions on the school property have implications throughout Malibu as well as the ESHAs abutting the school property.”
John Sibert, Mayor of Malibu wrote, “Sandy, Let me add my voice to a number of other Malibuites regarding the proposed use of fumigants and poisons on the  fields at MHS.  As you well know, the City Council unanimously supported a statement against the use of rodenticides and other poisons for pest control in the City…The City has also ended their use on our City-owned property…To have the School District ignore these efforts and plan an extensive fumigation and poison program on the MHS fields, particularly during the school year when they are in use, is extremely disturbing.  I hope you would hold off on this and consider other alternatives.”
After application of rodenticides, residents witnessed at MHS, a beautiful hawk sitting at the edge of a gophers hole monitoring the situation and stated, “Let us rely on this natural methods of gopher control.”
Another MHS parent wrote to Lyon, “I have to say, I was shocked that you moved forward with this unnecessary and toxic approach to dealing with a few gopher holes…. You had so many other options presented and available to you and so many community requests over this past week and even well prior to that asking you take a non-toxic and different approach.  Truthfully, it feels as though you run this school district like a dictatorship, not a democracy.  This is very disappointing and very wrong.”A Webster parent wrote, “There are quite a few of us that will not be sending our kids tomorrow to Webster, as the cafeteria is less than 100 feet from the fields. From the information that has been shared with us in regard to these chemicals and Webster emailing all the parents NOT to meet on the blacktop tomorrow morning, means there is concern. It’s irresponsible to have done what they done.”
Another MHS/JC parent stated, “The School Board must put a stop to poisoning and endangering students and wildlife on and adjacent to the campus until all IPM strategies are completely exhausted.”

A community member wrote, “I’m not sure why a jump backwards and going back to a poisoning routine is being implemented, but it’s completely an unethical stroke on the community.”

A MHS parents wrote to Lyon, “After the ongoing PCB fiasco and your very incomplete, piecemeal and expensive approach to it,  and now this, I have to wonder where is the oversight over your decisions and actions?  Who are you accountable to if not your constituents?  Why do you never take the approach of taking the utmost and highest precaution in protecting children, teachers and staff and now it seems you could care less about wildlife in our community as well.”
There were so many letters from Malibu City Council Members, prominent pesticide organizations, community members, parents, students, board members but Lyon ignored them all. Good question, MHS parent, Who does Lyon report to? 

Click Here for the Fumitoxin manual: (tablets were used not pellets)

This post was written by
Comments are closed.