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North Division High School students protest school's water cleanliness

MPS says the water is clean
Posted: 5:51 PM, May 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-03 18:51:07-04

Students at a North side high school are concerned over their access to clean water but the district says the students are spreading false information.

The confusion led to all after school activities getting canceled at North Division High School on Wednesday. 

A group of students held a rally at 4 p.m. at the school saying they're concerned over the presence of lead in their drinking water.

MPS says the district already took care of the issue and the students are misinformed.

Students part of the group "Youth Rising Up" organized the rally, saying they're afraid to drink the water at their school.

MPS responded to their concerns in a statement saying any drinking fountain at the school that did not meet EPA standards for lead was disconnected.

According to its website, when MPS voluntarily tested the water at North Division, it found 15 drinking fountains and 92 faucets where lead levels exceeded EPA standards (15 parts per billion).

The district is in the process of replacing fixtures at North Division and at all schools where standards exceeded those guidelines. A spokesperson for the district said two water fountains at North Division still need to be repaired. The other 13 where lead levels were found to be high were repaired already.

Students who rallied say they want to send a message to the district.

"When we see issues as students at our MPS schools, we're going to question them," said Shaniya Liberty, a North Division senior. "No longer will we sit back and just accept, yes this happened, no this didn't happen. We want tests, we want answers and we want them now."

The students were also upset over the installation of a filtered water fountain on the third floor of the building, where MPS says the district conducts staff training. Students are not allowed on the third floor and it is not part of the school.

MPS said it found there weren't a lot of water fountains on the third floor and staff who came to the building for training were waiting in line to fill up water bottles.

But students say it gives the staff special treatment.

Members of several local organizations attended the student rally, including the Hunger Task Force, Voces de la Frontera, the Black Panthers and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.
 

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