Raleigh father files complaint after YMCA excludes diabetic son

Posted September 10, 2013

— A Raleigh father says he has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice after a YMCA after-school program declined to accept his son, who has Type I diabetes.

Bruce Hatcher, whose son is a kindergartner at Underwood GT Magnet Elementary School, says 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.

“It’s more than just a shot. It’s a life-saving shot,” said Hatcher, who asked that his son’s name not be included. “If you had a kid, or anyone had a kid in this situation, you would understand a little better.”

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 says it’s easy enough for anyone to use.

“Can I do it? I did it. I do it,” he said.

For weeks, Hatcher has been in contact with the YMCA and Wake County Public School System, arguing that not allowing his son in the after-school program is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a statement given to WRAL News on Aug. 26, the YMCA said, "We strongly deny that we are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we take this situation very seriously … This is not a simple legal issue with ample guidance readily available."

YMCA Raleigh father files complaint after YMCA excludes son

WRAL News spoke with three different legal advocates for people with disabilities who all disagreed with the YMCA's stance. According to the Child Care Law Center, there have been four recent cases where child care providers were told they had to comply with the medical needs of Type I diabetics.

In some cases, religious groups – including the YMCA – don’t have to comply with the ADA. However, there were two cases – one in California and one in Nebraska – where the justice department got involved, and the YMCA agreed to comply.

Hatcher says the Wake school system, which rents buildings to the YMCA, wouldn't get involved, even though the rental agreement between the two says that groups must comply with federal laws.

“They have after-school programs in 51 some schools, and none of them are caring for diabetics,” Hatcher said.

In a new statement late last week, the YMCA said it is now reconsidering its protocol and hoped for a solution in Hatcher’s case. However, Hatcher says he wants the solution to cover all after-school YMCA programs, not just the one at his son's school. He says he hopes his fight will help other parents.


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  • CharmedLife Sep 19, 2013

    The father is very, very, selfish, and he does care about anyone else's kids, just his own! A five year old will do just fine playing in the backyard with friends. SELFISH!

    NOT selfish! Just being a concerned parent. Why don't you try using your own advice? You're the one who's being selfish and heartless.

  • A person Sep 19, 2013

    The Y has the right to deny services to anyone for any reason they find fitting.

  • heathershissler Sep 18, 2013

    I find it difficult to believe that they YMCA does not have ONE staff member with this capability. Self centered parent? Anyone who makes that statement clearly has lived a more charmed life then the rest of us. Sounds like the YMCA needs to actually read the ADA guidelines. People get sick. People have medical issues. Grow up and follow the law.

  • meltonjohnny27 Sep 16, 2013

    Father of type 1; please visit here for more help if needed: See​ml

  • 678devilish Sep 16, 2013

    saving technique

    Very good comment. How can people do this to a child? What if it was your child being turned away from the YMCA?

  • chicnrdu Sep 16, 2013

    So for everyone stating that they think asking the Y staff to provide a child with a life-saving shot is asking too much, does that mean you don't expect the YMCA lifeguards to jump in and rescue your drowning child. I mean CPR is also a life saving technique that the Y trains and certifies their lifeguards in.

  • Madonna Sep 13, 2013

    I think we should get Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor involved with this case. She definitely needs to read some of these posts!

  • jacamoe Sep 13, 2013

    None of this would've been necessary if one of two things happened: 1. WCPSS allowed the child to attend a school with after-school care that already takes care of T1D students. 2. The Y stepped up and got the FREE training to take care of a T1D child, which so many wonderful caregivers do every single day. Other WCPSS after-school contractors do it. Only the Y refuses, and they hide behind the fact that they are a religious institution, which they wrongfully believe exempts them from the ADA.

    September 11, 2013 7:21 p.m.
    A to the M to the E to the N ........ BINGO

  • Mon Account Sep 13, 2013

    "You guys are dead wrong. Where in the story does it say the child is disabled? It talks about the ADA but NEVER once says the child is disabled. I am not slamming the child because he has a "disease" that is unfortunate but I do slam the father for taking this to the level he has, it's uncalled for and he needs to make other arrangements. He is also putting the Y in a spot and they are not and should not be made to adhere to his wishes alone.

    The Y is not an employer of this "child" therefore they don't have to make reasonable accomodation. Read what "winemaker81" inserted.

    I think you people have taken this to the most ridiculous level and that's exactly what this man wants."-PDMARTIN

    I'm sorry if you don't like the facts. But saying that we are dead wrong on the disability part just because you don't like it doesn't invalidate the reality of the situation. ADA. Federal law. I know it gets stuck in your craw but, hey, it's the way it is.

  • 678devilish Sep 13, 2013

    The YMCA would NOT be

    If the YMCA cannot serve ALL children then maybe they should close forever.