Proposed legislation will protect students

Carbon monoxide is a danger to everyone, leading to hundreds of deaths each year and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations.

That’s why it’s hard to believe 45 states still do not have regulations requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be placed where our most vulnerable people – our children – spent much of their time: school.

West Virginia could soon take the steps needed to correct that as legislation is being discussed to enact such a requirement.

That announcement was made in Weirton Tuesday as local legislators joined with representatives of the Seeing Beyond Foundation and Hancock County Schools Superintendent Suzan Smith.

State law already requires the monitors in hotels, daycares and other facilities.

State Sen. Rocky Fitzsimmons is working to craft legislation to require the detectors be placed in all schools in West Virginia. The legislation is hoped to be presented during the Legislature’s next regular session.

It is an effort which was started locally, with the Seeing Beyond Foundation donating carbon monoxide detectors to St. Paul School, the Hancock County Sheltered Workshop and other local facilities. To its credit, the Hancock County Board of Education has voluntarily been working to install the meters in their schools, even though they currently are not required to. All of the county’s elementary schools currently have the equipment, and the middle and high schools are expected to join them in the coming weeks.

This is a matter of safety. Carbon monoxide is poisonous, and because of its colorless and odorless state, it cannot be detected through the human senses.

In other words, by the time someone would realize there was a problem, it would be too late for most people.

We applaud the members of the Seeing Beyond Foundation for taking the lead in this effort, the Hancock County School Board for taking their actions, and, especially, our local legislators for moving forward to make sure this oversight can be corrected as soon as possible.