The water in Flint, Michigan, has been extremely unsafe to consume since the city switched its water supply in 2014 from their Detroit source to the Flint River. Months after the switch, local residents were complaining about the color and quality of the water, fearing it was unsafe to drink.
It was determined through testing that the water supply in Flint was contaminated with dangerous levels of lead. Professionals claimed that the reason for the lead contamination was due to the lack of corrosion controls of the city’s water supply.
In January 2016, President Barack Obama issued a federal state of emergency in Flint due to the water crisis. However, despite the efforts of the city’s government to fix the water contamination issue, the community feels that the situation is being handled extremely poorly in schools.
On October 18th, 2016, fifteen families filed a class-action lawsuit against the Flint School District and the state of Michigan to seek help for their children at school. In the Flint School District alone, over 30,000 children have been exposed to lead and over 4% of children have dangerous levels of lead in their blood.
Lead exposure in children can lead to irreversible brain damage, including learning disabilities and behavioral problems. The parents behind the law suit claim that the school is lacking resources to deal with children with special needs, and fear that the dangerous exposure to lead over the past few years has increased the number of children in need of special education.
Local parents share frightening stories about their children being suspended up to 50 times from school due to their behavior, which they believe is due to developmental issues. When parents requested screening for their children to determine if special education was needed, nothing was done. In fact, some parents claimed that their children were physical restrained by staff and punished rather than evaluated for help.
The lawsuit seeks that the Flint School District implement regular and frequent testing for learning disabilities in children, and increase their programs and resources for special needs education. The parents of Flint, Michigan, want their children to have a fair chance at a quality education and feel it’s the state’s responsibility to take care of this issue, that more than likely was caused by extreme negligence to the ill water supply that the city has suffered from for years.