AFT sues Detroit schools over decrepit conditions


Mold, rodents and water-damaged ceilings were among the unsafe classroom conditions cited in a recently filed lawsuit against the Detroit Public Schools by the American Federation of Teachers-Michigan, the Detroit Federation of Teachers and parent groups. David Hecker, the president of the AFT-Michigan, said the action was taken to force the district to respond after years of neglect. The January lawsuit — and rolling teacher sick-outs — drew national attention to the long-neglected schools. 

City inspectors fanned out across the district and found hundreds of building code violations in the district’s 100 schools. On Feb. 17, school and city officials were working on a consent agreement to establish deadlines for the school district to make repairs.

The union lawsuit also succeeded in another demand: the resignation of Darnell Earley, the state-appointed emergency manager for Detroit’s public schools. Earley’s tenure came under additional fire since he had served as the emergency manager in Flint in 2014, when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. High lead levels and other contaminants have been found in Flint’s water since the switch was made. 

Detroit Free Press, Jan. 19 and Feb. 17

Lansing State Journal, Feb. 5

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