A Raleigh parent has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice after the local YMCA refused to admit his diabetic son.
Bruce Hatcher says the after-school program is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hatcher says the YMCA rejected his son because it does not administer shots, which the boy needs if his glucose level gets too low. The YMCA of the Triangle contracts with Wake County Public Schools to provide after-school care. Some religious organizations are exempt from the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Duke law professor Allison Rice says people with diabetes are still protected when using public services, even if the organization is considered exempt.
"Generally, someone that's offering a place of public accommodation or where public funds are being used, then that's going to be covered under the federal Rehabilitation Act," Rice says.
Lawmakers in Washington added amendments to the ADA in 2008 that cleared up protections for people with diabetes.
"There were cases where people with diabetes had been held 'not disabled' because of the way the law was being interpreted and they went back to fix it. I think they pretty clearly were going after diabetes. They talked about it specifically in Congress," says Rice.
Similar cases have ended in settlements with local YMCA's amending their policies to include emergency shots. Officials with the YMCA of the Triangle said in a statement they could not comment about the case because of the pending complaint, but they say they are reviewing their policies to make sure they are complying with federal law.