WJTV News Channel 12 - RALEIGH: Feds investigate Disabilities Act claim against WCPSS

Feds investigating Disabilities Act claim against Wake schools

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Bruce Hatcher, the father of a boy with diabetes, filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education about the YMCA of the Triangle. Bruce Hatcher, the father of a boy with diabetes, filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education about the YMCA of the Triangle.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Office for Civil Rights is investigating claims that a Raleigh YMCA will not provide treatment for a 5-year-old boy who has Type 1 Diabetes and that Wake schools denied the student a medical transfer.

Bruce Hatcher, the boy's father, filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education about the YMCA of the Triangle. The Y will not provide treatment, which includes monitoring and insulin injections, for the boy at his school's after-school care program.

"I was shocked. I was quite shocked because obviously I did my homework and they're not exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act," Hatcher said.

The ADA requires child care providers make "reasonable" policy changes to make sure all kids can participate.

"This doesn't take a doctor. It doesn't take a nurse," Hatcher said.

The Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education is investigating the YMCA of the Triangle to see if it violated the ADA by not offering the emergency injections for the boy.

It is also investigating the Wake County Public School System to see if it violated the ADA when it rejected Hatcher's request to a school whose after-care program would provide the injections. A spokesman for the Department of Education confirmed that it accepted a complaint for investigation Dec. 5.

Hatcher wanted his son to attend a school in which he would have gone to an after-school care program run by a church preschool that previously provided his son care. He said WCPSS denied the request because of overcrowding at the requested school.

"This is not the fight now for my son, this is a fight for a lot of folks in Wake County and this area that weren't able to have the ability and resources to take this fight on to be able to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act," Hatcher said.

"It's just become an issue of folks thinking they're bigger than the law or bigger than who they should be and doing not the right thing."

The school system acknowledged that it had received the complaint and said it will "provide a detailed response to the Office for Civil Rights that explains our compliance with federal and state laws and our effort to assist the parent who raised the concern in this matter."

"The school system values after school programs and the YMCA has been very cooperative in working with us in this matter," WCPSS said.

The YMCA of the Triangle said it is working with the DOJ regarding its questions and it is "confident the YMCA's response will satisfy any DOJ concerns."

"We continue to work with families on an individual basis to accommodate their child's medical care needs," said YMCA of the Triangle spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson.

The YMCA operates after school programs at 45 Wake County public schools and serves 51 other Wake schools at YMCA branches.

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