Local schools getting rid of fabric

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — With the first week back at school coming to an end, teachers and students are getting adjusted for fresh new faces and new safety procedures.

Teachers are now having to think twice before choosing certain decor such as fabrics and curtains in their classrooms.

According to Springdale Fire Department Captain Matt Bagley this is not a new procedure and has been an Arkansas State Law since 2012.

This rule is in place as a way to prevent fire hazards.

The reason this rule seems new is because the department is trying to be proactive with educating the school about the law.

“We are just trying to be proactive,” Captain Bagley said.

He said the Springdale School District isn’t in any kind of trouble and there haven’t been any issues.

“We have thirty three percent of our city’s population between students and facility in the schools all day long everyday,” Captain Bagley said. “That is definitely a place where we need to work together and get it right and so we are.”

According to him and Springdale Schools Communications Director Rick Schaeffer, teachers were told last spring the school would be enforcing the code for those who choose to use fabrics in their classrooms.

“We started talking with the school district a couple of years ago and last year we gave them a heads up,” Captain Bagley said.

“For those that do (have fabrics) certainly had plenty of time to prepare,” Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer said he knows how easy it is to forget especially with it being the first week of school.

“Whether or not that causes them an inconvenience, I think our teachers always want what is best for the schools and kids,” Schaeffer said.

Some teachers voiced how this enforced rule is an inconvenience because they have already bought their decor for the classroom, but according to Captain Bagley, there are options so they don’t have to get rid of some of the stuff they bought.

“There are companies out there that make spray products that can be applied to fabrics to limit the flammability,” he said.

He said on average they are seeing about $20 to $25 per liter, which should cover the teacher for the school year.

All the teacher would have to do is make sure to keep a log so when the fire department comes for inspections they can see it.

Captain Bagley said Springdale School District has been very open with all of this.

Both him and Schaeffer said at the end of the day, the most important thing is the student’s safety.

“The attention to detail is more important than it has ever been before in the history of our nation,” Captain Bagley said.

“Yes we want them to learn, yes we want them grow, but student safety is number one,” Schaeffer said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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