On January 26th, 2024, Kennedy Hunt P.C. filed a complaint against Gateway Regional YMCA and Patonville R-III School District for discrimination based on disability in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act.
The lawsuit alleges Gateway Regional YMCA and Patonville R-III School District discriminated against minor Plaintiff because he has disabilities. He was diagnosed at birth with Down’s Syndrome.
Per the lawsuit:
As part of its youth development programs, Defendant YMCA contracts with local school districts to provide students with before- and after-school care. Defendant YMCA provides before and after care services to some of Defendant Pattonville’s students under the terms of a contract.
According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Avery enrolled her son in before-school care known as “Y-Care” provided by Defendant YMCA prior to the 2022-2023 school year.
Per the lawsuit, just a few days before the start of the school year, Defendant YMCA emailed Plaintiff Avery stating that her son, Plaintiff L.F., was no longer accepted into and would not be allowed to participate in Y-Care at the elementary school he attends. According to the lawsuit,
Defendant YMCA refused to allow Plaintiff L.F. to attend Y-Care because they “will not be able to provide the level of support your child requires at this time.”
According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Avery then wrote the Superintendent and Board of Defendant Pattonville and informed them that Defendant YMCA was discriminating against Defendant Pattonville’s disabled students, including Plaintiff L.F., and denying them access to the Y-Care program for before and after school care.
In response, per the lawsuit, Defendant Pattionville then required Plaintiff L.F. to attend early care at another school in the district. According to the lawsuit, this was not a reasonable accommodation because it forced Plaintiff L.F. to take an hour-long bus ride before school started and denied him the opportunity to access the same amount of time participating in activity and learning.
Per the lawsuit:
Defendant Pattonville’s actions did not allow Plaintiff L.F. to interact with the peers he knew and attended school within the familiar setting at Rose Acres Elementary, but instead left him with students and staff he did not know in an unfamiliar setting. Defendants forced Plaintiffs to use the Remington before-school program for the 2022-23 school year while they sought other childcare options.
According to the lawsuit, Plaintiff Avery continued to complain about Defendants’ exclusion of her son and other children with disabilities from the Y-Care program.
The lawsuit continues:
Due to Plaintiff Avery’s ongoing complaints, Defendants continued to exclude Plaintiff L.F. from the Y-Care program in retaliation for their complaints about Defendants’ discrimination against Plaintiffs and other disabled students. Finally, and only due to Plaintiff Avery’s persistence did Defendant YMCA accept Plaintiff L.F. into the Y-Care program at Rose Acres Elementary School for the 2023-2024 school year.
Our clients suffer pecuniary losses, emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses as a result of the Defendant’s conduct. The lawsuit seeks emotional distress damages, compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorney’s fees and costs.
This case is ongoing. For more information, contact attorneys Michelle Faron, Nicole Matlock, and Sarah Jane Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.