NEWARK - Parents have filed a federal lawsuit against New Jersey's largest school district over lead found in drinking water.

Attorney Joel Silberman says the lawsuit against Newark's public schools seeks class-action status and was filed in federal court Tuesday.

The parents of four children allege in the lawsuit that the district deliberately exposed children to harmful levels of lead. Lead is known to severely affect a child's development.

The district shut off water fountains at half of its buildings in March because of elevated lead levels.

Newark schools spokeswoman Dreena Whitfield says the district hasn't been served with the suit yet.  She says students' safety is the district's highest priority and the district is working to "solve this historic issue once and for all."

The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

The suit comes one day after Gov. Chris Christie announced plans to require all New Jersey schools to test for lead in drinking water every year. Parents will have access to the test results. The governor added $10 million to the state’s budget for the testing.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.