The state of Michigan is being sued because several schools in Detroit are failing to teach children how to read, and Gov. Rick Snyder’s team of lawyers has come up with a novel defense.
According to local news station CBS Detroit, Gov. Snyder’s attorneys are claiming that children who are taught within the state’s school systems have no fundamental right to literacy, which means that the state isn’t liable if its schools fail to educate them.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Detroit students’ families by a California public interest firm, argues that children in Detroit have been fundamentally deprived of their rightful education thanks to neglect by Michigan’s state government.
“Decades of State disinvestment in and deliberate indifference to Detroit schools have denied Plaintiff schoolchildren access to the most basic building block of education: literacy,” the suit alleges, while also claiming that the schools’ “slum-like conditions” render them “functionally incapable of delivering access to literacy.”
CBS Detroit notes that a report from five years ago found that nearly half of all students in Detroit schools were functionally illiterate.