Approximately 47,000 students in Detroit will begin school this week with no drinking water in their schools.
Last Wednesday, the public school district of Detroit announced they would be shutting off the drinking fountains in 106 of the city’s schools due to tests that showed dangerous levels of lead and copper in their drinking water.
Of the 24 schools that were tested, results for 16 came back as contaminated. Though it’s inconclusive whether or not all of the city’s schools have unsafe drinking water, the school district is taking the safety and welfare of its students seriously, shutting down all the fountains.
In a statement, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said:
Although we have no evidence that there are elevated levels of copper or lead in our other schools where we are awaiting test results. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broader analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions for all schools.
Here the news on Twitter:
When public school students in Detroit return to their classrooms next week, the water fountains will be dry https://t.co/CzMwzP8Scy
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 30, 2018
Commenters expressed their concern and outrage:
This should not be happening in the US.
All Americans should have clean drinking water.
For that matter, ALL people should have access to clean drinking water.
— Sue Wilson (@fromjudgesue) August 30, 2018
That's wild. Completely wild. And we worried about a wall.
— Christropher Nieves (@AhoyTroph215) August 31, 2018
Every POTUS promises to repair the infrastructure and yet it never seems to get done, does it?
— BeachBum (@jandsmcw) August 30, 2018
The presence of copper in water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Lead’s poisonous effects on children have been well documented.
According to an article in Popular Science:
…lead is toxic, and if it makes its way into the still-developing brains of young children, many of the effects can be permanent. Lead can change how signals are passed within the brain, how memories are stored, even how cells get their energy, resulting in life-long learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and lower IQs.
Reverse-osmosis water purification systems will work to get rid of them BUT the bigger problem is that the water quality is terrible and dangerous to begin with, and people, especially kids have to get water from elsewhere — We shouldn't have let this happen.
— ?️? IKEABot ?️? (@furniture_dwarf) September 1, 2018
Monsters. They did that at my elementary school too. It is a stupid idea. Everyone needs water.
— JESSICA (@ajessicaleah) August 30, 2018
Detroit isn’t the only state having environmental issues in its schools:
Baltimore can't heat its classrooms, Detroit students can't drink from the water fountains, and teachers country-wide but their own supplies while living on food stamps. But sure, let's use school funds to buy guns. JFC. https://t.co/SC3RnLrIPT
— Miss Lucy Jane ? (@misslucyjane) September 3, 2018
Everybody is outraged about Detroit public schools having lead in the drinking water as they should be. Baltimore City public schools haven’t been able to use water fountains for like 20 years, it’s Lead all over the city here.
— essence (@_essieee) September 1, 2018
@CivicParent Students and staff in Jersey City Public Schools haven’t been able to use the drinking fountains for over 10 years.
— Kristen Hart (@kdzhart) September 1, 2018
Others seemed less concerned:
Everyone who went to an old school in the 1970s had this happen.
— Goldfish More Indictments Plz☘?⚾️ (@Goldfishboston) August 30, 2018
Nobody drinks at them Floride filled water fountains
— LeftyLoosy (@LeftyLoosy2) August 30, 2018
For now, Detroit students will be forced to drink bottled water and hope the school district finds a solution soon.