Lack of water testing in Flint schools concerns parents, teachers

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FLINT (WJRT) - (12/09/17) - (12/09/17) - Parents sounded off Friday over what is not happening in Flint schools as the city tries to recover from the water emergency.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been monitoring and testing the water in Flint over 6-month periods for the last 18 months. The state says those results show lead levels below the federal action level.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
confirmed Thursday that schools in Flint have not been a part of the ongoing 18-month monitoring and testing period.

"It's concerning with our kids because, you know, we have a son who has special needs. He has cerebral palsy we don't know the effects the water has had on him," Mario Booker said.

Booker and his wife's twin boys attend a school in the city. They moved back to the city from Burton shortly before the water emergency began.

"We do send our kids with bottled water because I know there have been times in which that wasn't available, and my son would come home and mention that they are thirsty, so we send extra bottles of water to school with them," Booker said.

However, the state has tested the water quality in schools before, although not recently. MDEQ says they conducted an initial round of testing and flushing before the first 6-month monitoring period began.
Those results were posted here. The state began fixture sampling and plumbing assessment in October 2015 at Flint Schools Central Kitchen. They followed up with replacing fixtures and installing water filters. Although, the children still use bottled water today.

"The kids are using water bottles," explained United Teachers of Flint President Karen Christian. "We have not been cleared to use the faucets at all, so as of right now there are still signs up in the buildings on the water fountains and different places saying do not drink from the water."

Aside from worrying about the brain development of students, she is also concerned that she can only say with certainty that one Flint school is lead free.

"I'm a little concerned because we were told that the testing was going to be continuous to make sure the school buildings are clear. I do know that as of last June Freeman School has been clear of lead because they had a special program there," Christian said.

Flint Community Schools are not the only school system affected by the lack of testing but they did send us a statement.

"Student health and safety is our first priority at Flint Community Schools. As such, we will continue to work with the state, medical professionals and the community toward a plan for the future of water in our district. As has been our strategy from day one, every decision will be made with the concern for student health and safety at the forefront. In the meantime, we continue to be grateful for the support we've received from partners like Walmart, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle in supplying water to our students. Additionally, we have learned the DEQ will be proceeding with water testing in all school districts in the city of Flint, and Flint Community Schools will be a part of that testing.”

As ABC12 reported Thursday, MDEQ says they are taking steps to test in schools, but they did not provide a timeframe for when that would happen.

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