A federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday accuses Michigan officials of failing to provide critical services to Flint, Michigan, children exposed to the city’s lead-contaminated water, the Washington Post reports.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the Education Law Center, and a New York City law firm filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf of 15 children harmed by the toxic water. They’re seeking class-action status to include all of Flint’s affected children in the lawsuit.
Lead exposure from the city’s water supply has put thousands of children at risk for learning disabilities, increased hyperactivity and aggression. The plaintiffs’ legal team warns that the clock is running out for the students to receive impactful interventions.
According to the lawsuit, school officials have failed to provide learning interventions to help the students. It also alleges that the schools are not screening for disabilities, and the state has neglected to provide city schools with necessary funding and resources to adequately address the problems.
It names the Michigan Department of Education, Genesee Intermediate School District, and Flint Community Schools as defendants.
A spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education told The Post that it does not comment on pending litigation.
However, Bilal Tawwab, superintendent of Flint Community Schools, gave this statement, via The Post:
“The health and well-being of Flint Community Schools students remains a top priority. A number of additional wrap-around services, support programs and initiatives have been implemented to support students and their families.”
Yet Tawwab told a congressional committee earlier this year that Flint schools are under resourced and struggling to meet the special needs of affected students.
In addition to regular lead testing for children, the plaintiffs are asking for quality universal preschool, enhanced screening to determine specific needs, and additional teacher training for managing students affected by tainted water.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter