Many schools in Detroit had to close last year because of a teacher sickout protesting poor building conditions.

School district, teachers union settle lawsuit over poor building conditions in Detroit

Jan. 13, 2017
Five-person committee will ensure that building repair requests in the school system are handled promptly.

The Detroit school district and the union representing its teachers have agreed to settle a lawsuit over dangerous and unhealthful conditions found in some schools.

The Detroit Free Press says the agreement between the district and the Detroit Federation of Teachers calls for creation of a five-member oversight committee to ensure that all building repair requests in the school system are handled promptly.

The settlement requires the district to generate a monthly maintenance report identifying every work order request and its status.

"Beyond just educating our students, we have served as building maintenance, plumbers, pest control, bricklayers and even painters for our classrooms and our decaying school buildings,” Interim union president Ivy Bailey says in a news release. “This settlement will finally allow us to turn the page and devote our time to educating and enriching the lives of our students and their families."

The five-member committee will include two members from the Detroit Public Schools Community District, one parent, one teacher and one non-teacher.

The lawsuit, filed in January 2016. contended that the poor conditions in some schools threatened students' health and deprived them of their constitutional right to an adequate education.

It said students had been exposed to "black mold, bacteria, freezing cold temperatures in classrooms, rodent and insect infestations, exposed wiring" and other hazards.

The poor building conditions sparked a wave of teacher sick-outs during the 2015-16 school year. During the largest, 88 of the district's roughly 100 schools were closed.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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