Parents of children attending four Newark Public Schools are filing a proposal for a class-action lawsuit claiming that officials have “poisoned” thousands of students by knowingly exposing them to toxic levels of lead. From March 2011 to the present, the water has allegedly caused gastrointestinal and cognitive health problems, according to Business Insider.
In March 2016, the Department of Environmental Protocols publicly revealed testing results. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and School Superintendent Chris Cerf were named in the complaint as part of the allegedly conscious decision to conceal the elevated lead levels currently in the Newark Schools’ water supply.
There are allegations that defendants “haphazardly and secretively installed filters” into some water sources to combat the problem, but the district did not provide adequate maintenance, reports Business Insider.
“The Defendants intentionally failed to change the filters for years despite the requirement that these filters be changed every six months.” Some filters were left unchanged for “more than five years after they expired,” the complaint read citing the district.
The lawsuit has not yet been served on the district, but a spokesperson for Newark Public Schools, Dreena Whitfield, e-mailed Business Insider a statement expressing the intention to communicate with the community, stressing the health and safety of Newark’s students and staff as being the highest priority.
Parents are seeking a jury trial with this lawsuit, as well as compensation for damages, and the establishment of a medical fund as well as the appointment of a monitor to oversee water procedures in Newark Schools.
New Jersey now joins Flint, Michigan, and Sebring, Ohio, as cities embroiled in the lead crises.