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Changes stem from lawsuit involving YMCA inclusion of Raleigh boy with diabetes

Posted July 28

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— The YMCA of the Triangle has adopted a new non-discrimination policy as a result of a 2013 lawsuit from a father who said an after-school program declined to accept his son who has Type I diabetes.

Bruce Hatcher, whose son was a kindergartner at Underwood GT Magnet Elementary School at the time, said YMCA officials told him that they do not administer shots and would not give his son a shot if the boy’s blood sugar dropped too low.

The shot comes from a device called a glucagon kit, which can quickly raise the blood sugar levels of someone nearing a diabetic coma

Hatcher filed a lawsuit with the Department of Justice saying the YMCA’s refusal to administer the shot was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Department of Justice said Thursday that under the ADA, a camp or childcare program must provide care for a child with diabetes unless doing so would fundamentally alter the program.

“After-school and camp programs enable children to learn from their peers and socialize with their friends,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Parents must be able to trust that their kids will receive the care and support they need, and providers who run these programs must fully comply with the ADA. The Justice Department will continue to aggressively fight all forms of discrimination that deny children with disabilities the protections the law requires and the opportunities they deserve.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the YMCA must adopt the non-discrimination policy and train its staff on the ADA as well as diabetes management. In addition, they will provide information to parents on how to request modifications for children with disabilities and designate and ADA compliance officer to ensure the organization is following the terms of the agreement.

YMCA spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said Thursday that although the YMCA signed the agreement with the Department of Justice this week, they consulted with legal and medical professionals and began making changes three years ago, following Hatcher's initial complaint. She said that in 2013, the organization did not have staff members equipped to treat the child, and now they do.

"Shortly after the complaint was filed in September 2013, we modified the YMCA's medical treatment policy to have trained personnel onsite who are qualified to administer injections in urgent, non-routine situations," the YMCA of the Triangle said in a statement.

The Hatcher family will receive $5,000 in compensation as a result of the settlement.

The YMCA of the triangle serves Wake, Durham, Lee, Johnston, Orange, Chatham and Pamlico counties and has 13 branches and 3 overnight camps. It hosts after-school programs at 53 sites and serves about 5,000 children.

3 Comments

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  • Cameron Martz Aug 1, 9:22 a.m.

    What the Y of the Triangle was avoiding is done by countless public and private programs for diabetic kids every day. They only modified their practices after the DOJ opened the investigation. Now, kids with disabilities (including diabetes) will get the same support at the Y that they enjoy at the many quality and caring programs in the Triangle that did not need the US Attorney General's office to force them to do what is both morally right and legally required. Thank you, Bruce, and thank you, DOJ.

  • Andrew McGuffin Jul 29, 12:34 p.m.
    user avatar

    No, not because of INclusion, but because of EXclusion. And no one is asking that YMCA give the boy these shots except in the case of emergency ... just like an epi-pen for any child who suffers an allergic reaction, or CPR for anyone who requires it at the YMCA pool.

  • Demute Sainte Jul 28, 8:35 p.m.
    user avatar

    Can you imagine the liability the YMCA or any other organization must assume to administer medications to a child! WOW!