School Climate & Safety Briefly Stated

Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed

September 02, 2020 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Water-Crisis Agreement to Bring Spec. Ed. Help to Students in Flint

First they were given lead-contaminated water to drink, and after that was discovered, they had trouble getting the special education services they needed to mitigate the learning disabilities, poor classroom performance, and increased aggression, among other problems, that come from lead toxicity.

Now, children in Flint, Mich., have been promised the funding to ad-dress their needs. As part of a settlement in a class action, the state plans to establish a $9 million special education fund to improve education for children affected by the Flint water crisis.

The money, part of a $600 million settlement, will be used to strengthen services and supports for Flint children who were harmed by lead poisoning and to pay for improvements for special education services to all students with disabilities in public schools in the city and Genesee County.

The percentage of special education students in the Flint schools has more than doubled since the water crisis began. That number could rise as more children born during that period begin to enroll in school. Currently, 1 in 4 students in the Flint schools is eligible for special education services.

Flint families drank, bathed, and cooked in their homes with the lead-tainted water for 17 months before the problem was discovered and the water supply shut off. The contamination occurred when the cash-strapped city, under the direction of a state-appointed manager, switched its water supply from Lake Huron to cut costs.

In the federal lawsuit filed in 2016, the plaintiffs contended that the state and schools failed to provide adequate financial and staffing resources and support to help Flint schoolchildren meet the challenges they were faced in getting special education services.

‘Wounded’ Teachers Hit Indiana Sheriff’s Office With Constitutional Suit

Preparation is a key to good teaching, but as a group of teachers maintain, they shouldn’t have to endure getting shot at in the name of being prepared.

After taking their story public last year, teachers in Indiana who were shot at with plastic bullets as part of an active-shooter drill at their elementary school are taking it into the legal arena. They have sued the White County sheriff’s department that conducted the training, as well as others, charging that the incident has caused long-term physical and emotional effects.

In January 2019, the teachers from the Twin Lakes School Corp. district arrived for a voluntary professional-development session on active-shooter situations. None of them was informed of the content of the training, which included being shot at close range, execution style, purportedly to show what could happen without preparation. The exercise left the terrified teachers with welts and bruises and caused widespread outrage after the Indiana State Teachers Association testified about it at a state hearing several months later.

Several of the teachers, the complaint alleges, left the district, moved to a different school, or retired as a direct result of the incident. One had a permanent scar, two sought counseling, one was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and all reported continuing anxiety and fear around law-enforcement personnel and/or firearms.

Law-enforcement officers also were laughing or smirking at them during the exercises or otherwise appeared unconcerned about their pain and distress, the teachers contend.

What’s more, they argue that the officers violated their Fourth Amendment rights, which protect citizens from undue search and seizure, and also fall afoul of a state law protecting people from the negligent infliction of emotional distress.

While active-shooter drills have been put on hold as schools have largely moved to remote learning because of COVID-19, the larger conversation about which school safety measures are the most effective is far from resolved.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 02, 2020 edition of Education Week as Briefly Stated

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety What the Research Says Bullying Dropped as Students Spent Less Time in In-Person Classes During Pandemic
Researchers based their findings on an analysis of internet searches on online and school-based harassment.
5 min read
Cyber bullying concept. Paper cut Woman head silhouette with bullying messages like disgusting, OMG!!, loser, hate, ugly, and stupid.
iStock/Getty Images Plus
School Climate & Safety Interactive School Shootings This Year: How Many and Where
Education Week is tracking K-12 school shootings in 2022. See the number of incidents and where they occurred in our map and data table.
2 min read
Sign indicating school zone.
iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety Infographic School Shootings in 2021: 4 Takeaways, in Charts
In 2021, there were 34 school shootings that hurt or killed people, the most since 2018. Here's what we know about school shootings this year.
Illustration of a gun and a school in the background.
iStock/Getty collage
School Climate & Safety Opinion Assessing Shooting Threats Is a Matter of Life or Death. Why Aren't Experts Better at It?
To take the right actions before the next tragedy occurs, schools need all the help they can get, write three experts.
David Riedman, Jillian Peterson & James Densley
5 min read
Conceptual illustration of young person in crisis
iStock/Getty