HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's premier says he takes allegations of abuse at two provincially run schools for the hearing impaired seriously, although the province will need to verify the allegations.

McNeil said he knows little about a proposed class-action lawsuit launched Wednesday that names the provincial government as a defendant.

The claim alleges systemic sexual, physical, and mental abuse at the former School for the Deaf in Halifax and the former Interprovincial School for the Education of the Deaf in Amherst.

"We certainly take it very seriously," said McNeil. "As a province we would be part of . . . ensuring can we substantiate the allegations and is there some merit for what's been brought before us."

The claim alleges the province chose not to properly investigate or stop the abuse and mistreatment of children at the schools, which are now closed.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

McNeil said anyone who feels they have been the victim of abuse should seek support and come forward.

"When we take on the care for any individual whether it's young or old we have the responsibility to ensure that they are in a safe environment," he said.

The plaintiffs are represented by Halifax class action lawyer Ray Wagner.

The notice of intended action says the plaintiffs will seek compensation and-or damages, along with costs and any further relief as deemed appropriate by the court.