Michigan dad builds giant playhouse for his daughters | 0:31
Avery and Violet Boyd, ages five and 21 months, can’t get enough of the two-story playhouse their father built for them in the backyard of their home in Highland, Michigan.
1 of 8
Why are PETA and Tinder joining forces? | 0:34
The dating app Tinder has joined forces with PETA to request that its users take down all pictures that include tigers. Last week, Tinder posted on its blog, explaining, “more often than not, these photos take advantage of beautiful creatures that have been torn from their natural environment. Wild animals deserve to live in the wild.” Tinder has also donated $10,000 to Project Cat — an organization working to preserve the natural habitats of tigers.
2 of 8
What are Michigan’s open carry rules? | 1:02
Here’s what you need to know about Michigan’s open carry rules.
Detroit Free Press
3 of 8
Evacuated, crying dog touches rescuers’ hearts | 1:13
The 40-pound brindle dog evacuated from a Florida shelter just before Hurricane Irma sat sadly in his Tennessee kennel and cried.
Angela Gosnell/News Sentinel
4 of 8
For ‘Flatliners’ sequel, cast went through medical boot camp | 0:41
In preparation for the upcoming sequel to 1990’s Flatliners, 28 year-old actress Nina Dobrev along with the rest of the cast had to undertake training to help make the science and medical scenes more “believable” on camera.
5 of 8
Pop+Offworld arcade lands in Detroit amid 1980s revival | 1:11
Pop+Offworld video arcade, bar and pizzeria opened in September 2017 in downtown Detroit.
Robert Allen /Detroit Free Press
6 of 8
How to roast pumpkin seeds | 0:47
Brimming with good-for-you nutrients and lower in calories and fat, pumpkin seeds make a deliciously crunchy snack, or salad topper. From extracting to seasoning, we show you how to achieve the perfectly roasted seeds.
7 of 8
What you need to know about the Detroit Free Press Marathon | 1:06
The Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon will happen in downtown Detroit on Oct. 14-15.
8 of 8
Last VideoNext Video
Michigan dad builds giant playhouse for his daughters
Why are PETA and Tinder joining forces?
What are Michigan’s open carry rules?
Evacuated, crying dog touches rescuers’ hearts
For ‘Flatliners’ sequel, cast went through medical boot camp
Pop+Offworld arcade lands in Detroit amid 1980s revival
How to roast pumpkin seeds
What you need to know about the Detroit Free Press Marathon
A federal lawsuit that claims state and local school authorities have failed to ensure that lead-exposed children in Flint are receiving an appropriate education can move forward, a judge ruled today.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow rejected requests from the Michigan Department of Education, Flint Community Schools and the Genesee Intermediate School District to toss the case.
The lawsuit alleges that special needs students in Flint have been shortchanged for years, a problem compounded by the city’s lead-tainted water crisis.
Greg Little, chief trial counsel at the Education Law Center and an attorney for the children, said the judge’s ruling was “an important hurdle to overcome.”
“Flint already has a significant number of students with special education needs,” he said. “That number will likely go up due to the effects of lead to which all children in Flint were exposed. It is vital that the local school system be ready to meet their needs.
“We look forward to ultimately prevailing at trial and bringing well deserved relief to the children of Flint.”
The lawsuit was filed in October 2016 on behalf of 15 children between the ages of 3 and 17. It says tens of thousands of kids are at risk of having a disability because of lead poisoning.
Flint’s water crisis began to unfold in 2014 after the city, under the authority of a state-appointed emergency manager, switched its drinking water source from the Detroit system to the Flint River. Lead is a neurotoxin that causes cognitive, developmental and behavioral impairment in children.
Attorneys for the kids argue that school officials violated federal education laws that protect disabled people.
The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages. Rather, it asks the court to force the defendants to provide legally required services, including special education services and accommodations for children with disabilities.
Donald Miller, attorney for Flint Community Schools, declined to comment Friday on the judge’s ruling. Timothy Mullins, an attorney for the intermediate school district, did not return a message.
Bill DiSessa, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Education, said he can’t comment on pending litigation. A spokesperson from the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, which is defending the department, did not return a message.
Attorneys for the defendants argued, among other things, that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust an administrative hearing process used to settle disputes under federal education laws. The judge didn’t buy it.
Tarnow also wrote that children’s attorneys are clearly seeking a systemic changes in the way all children in the Flint School District are identified, placed and educated. He said they have “emphatically illustrated that the alleged violations are widespread across the Flint schools and repetitive in nature.”
The judge, however, side with Flint Community Schools on one issue: free, city-wide preschool.
“There is no showing that this court has the power to order the creation of public universal preschool,” the judge wrote, saying the decision is best left to state government. He dismissed the plaintiffs’ request for universal preschool.
Other remedies the plaintiffs are seeking include:
• Steps to identify the academic and behavioral needs of Flint students
• Implementation of positive behavioral interventions in every school, with training and support to all personnel interacting with students
• Safeguards to prevent unnecessary and illegal suspensions and expulsions
• Requiring all Flint schools to provide special education services and accommodations for children with disabilities.
• Oversight and monitoring of corrective measures needed to meet the educational needs of all students
• Creation of an expert group to review current special education programs
The lawsuit also asks the judge to appoint a special monitor to make sure that the remedies are put in place.
The children’s attorneys plan to seek class-action status on behalf of 30,000 people. That figure includes includes 15,000 school-age children, plus 15,000 children who are not yet old enough for school or who are young adults eligible for education services, said Kristin Rinehart Totten, education attorney for the ACLU of Michigan.
ACLU of Michigan officials lauded the ruling as a major victory.
“We know the Flint water crisis is not over because thousands of children have not been evaluated for disabilities,” Executive Director Kary Moss said. “Congress passed laws to make sure that children with special needs have a right to learn. This couldn’t be more important than in Flint where so many children were poisoned by lead in the water.
“Today, the court has given Flint children a chance by ruling that they deserve, at the very least, an opportunity to show that they have not yet received the services to which they are entitled under federal law and how they can and should be helped with sufficient state and local intervention.”
Along with the ACLU of Michigan and the Pennsylvania-based Education Law Center, the children are being represented by the New York law firm of White & Case.
Contact staff writer Ann Zaniewski at 313-222-6594 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @AnnZaniewski.
Read or Share this story: http://on.freep.com/2yycBQR