March 12, 2018
The current spraying of the chemical weed killer Roundup around the perimeter of the school has recently prompted backlash from some students at Miami Palmetto Senior High School.
Drew Latta, a senior, is spearheading the campaign to end the use of Roundup on school grounds.
“Roundup is one of the most common pesticides/herbicides in the country but it’s incredibly toxic, can have a long natural persistence time [meaning it] takes a while for it to break down and stop being effective and has been associated with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system and nationwide lawsuits were filed against Roundup in 2016 after the main ingredient, glyphosate, was found to cause the cancer for some users.
“Ms. Schlachtman’s class got me really involved with what kind of chemicals were going into agriculture and landscaping, and she taught us about how toxic roundup is, and I saw that it was used so prominently.” Latta said. “I’m a nail biter, so it freaked me out how easily I especially could be exposed to Roundup.”
The question then is: what can be done? Sophomores Ali Khan and Daniel Fein are currently aiding Latta in his fight to change the landscaping product the school utilizes.
“I thought the process of getting a new herbicide approved through the district would take a long time, and I didn’t think the months I had left at Palmetto would be enough to jump through all those bureaucratic hurdles. I talked to Daniel Fein and Ali Khan and they seemed interested,” Latta said.
“We have used the notes graciously given to us by Drew as a stepping stone and for guidance, and they have inspired us to take action and bring change,” sophomore Ali Khan said. “Daniel and I hope to get in contact with the school district and work with them through the processes of getting rid of Roundup, and to establish an effective but harmless alternative.”
The time frame for this process is still undetermined, but nonetheless, the issue has remained an important one for many students.
“We hope to get Roundup off our school as soon as possible so we can protect our fellow students from those toxic and harmful chemicals,” Khan said.