This article originally appeared in the University of Virginia’s UVAToday online news magazine and is reprinted with permission.
Two University of Virginia professors who played a significant role in this week’s Flint, Michigan, water crisis lawsuit settlement are being applauded around the country.
Gail Lovette and Bill Therrien, professors in UVA’s Curry School of Education and Human Development, worked pro bono on the case for nearly four years, analyzing how increased exposure to lead in Flint’s municipal water supply affected children’s learning.
On Thursday, they saw their work pay off in the form of a $600 million settlement with the State of Michigan and other defendants that includes at least $9 million in new funding for special education programs in Flint Community Schools and surrounding school districts that educate special education students who were on the Flint water lines.
Lovette and Therrien called the result a “testament to the people of Flint.”
“Parents and teachers—some at potential great risk because they were still employed by the schools—stood up for their community’s children and students,” Therrien said.
The two professors were part of the litigation efforts of the ACLU of Michigan, the Education Law Center and the New York-based global law firm White and Case. They spent time in Flint, speaking with educators and families and reviewing documents associated with the schools and districts.