Detroit Public School District Opens With Water Coolers & Bottles Instead Of Drinking Fountains

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Students started the first day of classes in the Detroit Public Schools Community District with water coolers and bottled water in lieu of drinking fountains.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti ordered drinking water shut off across the district last week after testing found elevated levels of lead or copper in 16 of 24 school buildings and after 18 were given bottled water after an earlier round of testing.

Vitti’s decision made national headlines, but he says it was the right call to avoid distractions and safeguard students and staff.

Separately, Chalkbeat Detroit reports that Vitti on Friday sent a cease-and-desist letter to the head of University Prep threatening to sue him and the nonprofit charter-school network if he didn’t back off claims made in a robocall to parents.

University Prep head Mark Ornstein contrasted what he said was elevated levels of lead in all Detroit public school buildings with the safe drinking water found at University Prep buildings.

A version of this story originally appeared on the Daily Detroit Podcast.

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