Water of Champions?

Gracie Holmes

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Water from a drinking fountain in one of the lunchrooms

The whispers of lead in the water fountains has circulated amongst Whitney Young students forever. Students have claimed that the water tastes “off” and is often discolored. Some avoid it all together. “I only bring water from home because I just don’t trust the school water,” says Ava Mariani ‘19.

The photo attached was taken on October 4, 2018 in one of the water fountains in the lunchrooms. A light brown liquid came out of the water fountains. Patrick Moran ‘20 said, “I never want to drink water from a water fountain again,” when he saw this strange sight.

In June of 2016, CPS proposed to “increase their attention on the issue of water quality” in public schools. CPS’ plan was to test all schools for lead in water, starting with those built before 1986 that also have pre-K programs. “I don’t feel safe not knowing what is in my water at school,” said Bella Cerda ‘19.

According to the EPA, drinking water with lead in it can lead to serious health risks for kids and adults. For children, the health risks include: behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, slowed growth, and anemia. These are serious risks that the “bright minds of tomorrow” should not be facing.

One student, CJ Johnson ‘20, sparked the debate of, “Why don’t you just drink from the filtered fountains?” It is true that there are filtered fountains on every level of the school and they are accessible to all. However, what if the water from the regular fountains doesn’t come out a shocking brown color? Lead in water is clear most of the time. This sort of risk is unacceptable in a school or any public building. Administration should at least block off these tainted water fountains so students know they are unsafe to drink. Students, faculty and staff all reserve the right to clean, accessible water.

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The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.
Water of Champions?