District school officials deserve a grade of D for their progress in protecting children from dangerous art supplies, a consumer advocacy group reported yesterday.

A study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said that in the last year school systems in several other area jurisdictions had made improvements in protecting the health and safety of students and staff members in art classes.

"With the exception of Washington, D.C., the schools that we studied have come a long way since last year," said to a statement by Pamela Gilbert, a staff lawyer with the research group. "And we are hopeful that by the beginning of the 1987-1988 school year, D.C. will implement the safety procedures they say they are working on this summer."

D.C. school officials disputed the conclusions of the report, saying that they had adopted measures that the research group had called for last year when it cited safety problems in art classrooms.

In the earlier report, the research group warned that art supplies used in many schools include hazardous materials such as lead, silica dust and dangerous solvents.

The report released yesterday said that District teachers had been instructed not to buy toxic materials, but that there is no official program to enforce that policy or to ensure that teachers are aware of which products have been approved and which have not.

The report also concluded that while D.C. officials had sent information to art teachers regarding hazardous art materials, there had been no official directive requiring the removal of these products from classroom shelves.

In addition, many art materials used in District schools do not have labels indicating the toxic materials they might contain or instructions for safe use, the study found.

Dominic G. Angino, safety manager for D.C. schools, took issue with the findings.

"We have complied with everything they said. We made a recommendation to all of our art teachers to go with nontoxic materials as recommended by the information group," he said.

"Several years ago, we were using thinners and glues at any {grade} level and now we are getting them out of the primary schools and only using them under the direct supervision of art instructors," Angino added.

The report noted that D.C. school officials had complied with three other safety recommendations: banning many hazardous art supplies, providing better supervision for secondary students who use hazardous materials and instituting a rating system for all art supplies according to their toxicity.

The other jurisdictions examined by the group were Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's -- each of which received a grade of B minus or better for their efforts in improving safety.

Among the potential hazards cited by the group are silica dust contained in clay, lead, asbestos, solvents and dyes. The report found that children are particularly prone to accidentally ingesting, spilling and immersing their hands in the dangerous materials.