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The Children of Flint

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The Flint water crisis is well into its 18th month. Infrastructure improvements have been made, yet the community is still reeling. Water must still be filtered before it’s safe to drink. Residents continue to bathe in bottled water. Pets are dying from drinking contaminated water.

But it’s the children of Flint that have suffered the most. Nearly 30,000 Flint children were exposed to high levels of lead both at home and in school. For some, elevated levels of lead in their blood have caused developmental delays and behavioral problems that will affect them for years to come.

These issues are funneling into Flint area classrooms, which are woefully under-funded and unprepared to handle students’ needs. Flint Community Schools are already operating at a $10 million deficit due to the city’s economic decline. Schools have closed and consolidated. Classroom sizes have grown. There are now fewer teachers and resources for the students.

Just this week, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Michigan Department of Education and two area school districts for failure to provide health screenings and special education services to the children of Flint. In the lawsuit, the ACLU of Michigan and the Education Law Center also alleges that the state government is failing to provide a safe school environment, adequate personnel and sufficient classroom resources. According to the Detroit News, this is just one of more than 450 filed civil lawsuits related to the water crisis.

As media coverage fades, the inexcusable and tragic events in Flint continue to drag on. It will take years to completely upgrade infrastructure, adequately fund schools and settle lawsuits. In the meantime, the children of Flint need our immediate help.

If you’d like to help or donate to the children of Flint, please visit www.flintkids.org or www.savethechildren.org.

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