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ACLU demands benefits for Flint water crisis children

By Stephen Borowy

FLINT, Mich. (WNEM/CNN) -- A civil rights group wants every child living through the ongoing water crisis to be screened for health and educational disabilities and they are taking the state to court over it.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said while lead in the blood will dissipate, its effects on the body and minds of Flint school children could be long-lasting.

“What today is 1303 since we’ve been dealing with the water crisis,” said Melissa Mays, Flint Water activist. “It’s just too much for these kids.”

Mays is speaking out on behalf of students affected by poisonous pipes.

She supports the lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Education, Genesee Intermediate School District and Flint Community Schools.

The lawsuit is asking a judge to force those agencies into giving kids more help.

“My son had to relearn how to learn,” Mays said. “He had to do it a different way, but he was lucky because he had the support to help him and tutor him, but most of the public schools don’t have that.”

Mays said she has been a part of the proceedings. She said the lawsuit isn’t necessarily suing for money, but resources.

“Help, they need mental help. They need emotional help, educational and physical help,” Mays said. “We need doctors in the schools as well.”

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Flint parents. In the suit, the civil rights agency said it wants:

Positive behavioral interventions put in every school Prevention of unnecessary and illegal suspensions and expulsions To make all Flint schools provide special education services TV5 reached out to the Michigan Department of Education who said they would not comment on pending litigation.

As for Mays, she hopes the kids get what they need.

“It’s on the state who is mostly responsible for this to help,” Mays said. “And they should want to because no state should want a city to fail. Especially school kids, you should not fail these children.”

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