Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

"Now more than ever, families have the right to expect that the public education system will address their children's special education needs," one attorney said. (Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)

Class-Action Lawsuit Seeks Justice for At-Risk Children of Flint

'There must be responsibility to do everything humanly possible to mitigate the damage done to the residents of Flint—especially its children.'

Nika Knight

A class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday seeks justice for the children of Flint, Michigan, who are suffering the effects of months of drinking lead-contaminated tap water while also not receiving adequate special education services in the city's public schools, the suit alleges.

"The extensive lead poisoning in Flint has combined with the lack of essential special education resources in the Flint schools to create a tragic crisis," Gregory Little, a partner at White & Case and a board member of the Education Law Center, told the Detroit News. "By insisting on a positive learning environment for all students, this lawsuit will help all children and families in Flint."

The lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan and the Education Law Center, alleges that the state is violating disability laws by not providing adequate special education services for children in Flint, even as exposure to lead has meant more children in Flint require such services.

Almost 30,000 Flint schoolchildren, from birth to age 19, were exposed to lead in the tap water at home and at school after officials switched the city's water supply to the corrosive Flint River in April 2014, the suit argues.

"Providing an adequate education to the children of Flint was already an uphill challenge before this crisis hit," notes the ACLU's Curt Guyette. "The school district is laboring under the burden of a $10 million deficit. Teachers are doing their best, but some classes have as many as 40 students in them. In a city rife with poverty, children were already being forced to overcome too much."

"The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, argues that the public school system in Flint is not meeting its legal obligation to screen lead-exposed children for disabilities or provide services and interventions that could make a difference in their ability to learn and thrive," reports the Washington Post. "It also alleges that the Michigan Education Department has failed to provide Flint schools [...] with the resources and funding they need to provide those services."

"The lawsuit seeks class-action status, injunctive relief and immediate remedies on behalf of thousands of Flint families[...] It does not seek monetary damages," according to the Detroit News, which goes on to detail one mother's experience with the Flint public school system:

Nakiya Wakes, mother of a plaintiff in the lawsuit, a 7-year old boy who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said there is no plan and no program to educate her child.

"All they do is send him home, with no services and no support," Wakes said.

During the 2015-16 school year, while attending a charter school in Flint, Wakes' son was suspended from school more than 50 times.

"I know my son can learn," Wakes said. "But he can’t learn when he’s not in school, with no resources for him to make up the school work he's missed."

Jessica Levin, staff attorney at the Education Law Center, told the Detroit News: "The government's own actions in exposing the community to elevated lead levels has put every child at risk. Now more than ever, families have the right to expect that the public education system will address their children's special education needs."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

AOC Warns That Corporate Lobbyists Would Love People to 'Give Up Before the Deal Is Done'

"It's way easier for them to try to get away with the things that they're lobbying for and against if people at home aren't watching," said the New York Democrat

Jon Queally ·

Tlaib Leads Call for Biden to Take 'Commonsense Steps' to Aid Afghan Evacuees

"Our country has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now is the time to continue that tradition and stand beside Afghan evacuees in need."

Jessica Corbett ·

'Huge Win': Green Groups Applaud Biden Move to Protect Minnesota Watershed

"You don't allow America's most toxic industry next to America's most popular wilderness," said one environmental campaigner.

Brett Wilkins ·

Taking Aim at Predatory Equity Firms, Warren Leads Bill to 'Stop Wall Street Looting'

"Now is the time," asserted Sen. Bernie Sanders, "to end Wall Street's greed, protect workers, and create an economy that works for everyone, not just the 1%."

Brett Wilkins ·

Arizona Groups Demand Sinema 'Stop Obstructing' on Medicare Expansion

The diverse coalition called on the Democratic senator to back "bold drug pricing reform" and "critical improvements to Medicare's coverage" in the reconciliation package.

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo