Philadelphia-area YMCA settles a discrimination case involving child with diabetes

    Kids pledge to exercise everyday at the Washington Y on Wednesday

    Kids pledge to exercise everyday at the Washington Y on Wednesday

    A Philadelphia-area YMCA and the U.S. Department of Justice have settled a discrimination complaint involving a child with Type 1 diabetes.

    In 2008, the Rocky Run Branch of the YMCA in Media, Pennsylvania denied a child access to an after-school program over concerns staff would be required to deliver glucagon injections in the event of an emergency. The YMCA also requested the parents supply an aide to monitor the child during a summer day camp.

    Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, facilities such as the YMCA are required to make reasonable accommodations for children with special needs.

    Eight years after the initial complaint was filed, the Justice Department and Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, which oversees the Rocky Run Branch, have reached an agreement on a framework for what those accommodations will look like.

    “It is going to require a little bit of thought and work on our part, but if we can get better at being inclusive, we’re all ears,” said Shaun Elliott, who took over as CEO of the YMCA in January.

    In addition to a diabetes management training program for staff and volunteers, the YMCA also agrees to designate an ADA compliance officer and adopt a non-discrimination policy.

    Under the terms of the agreement, there were no monetary penalties awarded to the family of the diabetic child.

    “I just would hate for people to think that the ‘Y’ is not an inclusive organization,” said Elliott. “We’re absolutely about inclusivity, and I hope it doesn’t tarnish our reputation.”

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