Summer Camp Denies Admission To Child With Disability

September 24, 2015 in

Many people understand that the Americans with Disabilities Act provides protections to persons with disabilities in a variety of contexts. But did you know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has recently been used to file a claim of discrimination against a summer camp for failing to admit a child with epilepsy?

The United States Department of Justice recently settled a discrimination investigation with Camp Bravo, a private day camp for children from ages 4 1/2 through the 6th grade.

The summer camp hosted 2 four-week sessions on the campus of Goucher College in Maryland. The management of the summer camp appeared to have denied admission to a child who has epilepsy and needs the administration of medication in the event of such a seizure. The mother of this child requested the camp administrator to make sure that the medication was available if the child experienced a seizure while at the camp.

The camp had a pre-existing policy requiring campers to self-administer medications and had designated staff who are certified in CPR and first aid to supervise the self-administration. Camp Bravo staff are also trained to administer epi-pens, premeasured emergency medication for severe allergic reactions. The camp had a chief medical officer of a local university as the designated health supervisor. The camp also had a nurse on staff, but the nurse was not available for field trips or bus rides. Camp Bravo’s position was that it was not required to train unlicensed staff members to administer this controlled medication.

Not so fast said the United States Department of Justice. The administration of this medication was deemed substantially ministerial and did not require any expertise or medical training. Camp Bravo was required to adopt, maintain, and enforce a nondiscrimination statement reversing this position. They were also required to adopt, maintain, and enforce an emergency anti-seizure medication administration policy and procedure so that this child and others could be safely administered their medication. There was also a requirement that all camp personnel undergoes sensitivity training for ADA issues. All Personnel will also be trained on epilepsy and seizures.

The camp also agreed to pay $8000 to the mother to compensate the child for the harm she had endured. Although the ADA does not provide for such damage awards, when the Department of Justice goes after a public accommodation, they frequently require such payments to be made.

Parents of children with a disability need to be aware of their rights under the ADA and other laws. LaBovick Law Group has a dedicated division and attorney focusing in this area. Don’t hesitate to contact us for your free consultation today.