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On the Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn’t Stink

On the Navajo Nation, kids with the most severe developmental disabilities attend a school called Saint Michael’s Association for Special Education.

Dameon David, 8, is waking up from a nap in his classroom. He has come to the school in northeastern Arizona for four years. He has cerebral palsy, seizures and scoliosis. His mom, Felencia Woodie, picks him up from a bed with Superman sheets.

“Other schools that he was going to go to, they didn’t have the nursing staff or the equipment he goes in, or the trained staff that they have here to do his suctioning, his feeding and his medications daily,” she says.

Woodie, who also works at Saint Michael’s, says the only problem with the school is its water.

“It has a certain stench to it. Sometimes you’ll smell … kinda like a egg smell,” Woodie says. “Sometimes it’s yellow, brown, or even we’ve seen black.”