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Iowa City school district settles with government agency on workplace safety

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – The Iowa City Community School District will soon pay the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, $1,500 and revise its staff training as part of a complaint and report from 2018.

The agency originally asked for $6,681 for a “serious” code violation at Penn Elementary in North Liberty; but arrived at $1,500 after the district appealed.

A case link, originally published by the Iowa City Press-Citizen, says students at Penn were punching, biting and kicking teachers on school property. OSHA filed its original report in mid-April 2018.

“It’s not what comes to my mind when I want to think of the environment at an elementary school,” Iowa City School Board Member Phil Hemingway said.

Hemingway thinks a ruling like this was a longtime coming.

“It should be a wake-up call for us that we’ve got to pay a heck of a lot more attention to what’s going on inside of our buildings,” Hemingway said.

Some parents aren’t sold that the district is moving in the right direction and want more community input in the future.

“We need to sit down as a community and evaluate what the real problems are here,” ICCSD mom Julie VanDyke said.

A document outlining the settlement says that the district will soon develop procedures which “discourage and eliminate threatening acts of violence against employees.”

No one with the district could offer specifics on these programs Wednesday but OSHA is requiring they be in place, with staff fully trained, by the end of the year.




Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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