Court Cases/Law to back me up

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 3:46am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Here's the quick version: My PA daughter was denied entrance to a preschool because of her PA (in my eyes). They told me that they could not accomodate her...they have vegetarian students who need to eat peanut butter, so they can not remove peanut butter from her classroom. I am upset & feel that we should push the issue. I don't think that they should be able to flat out say no. She meets all other requirements for entrance. My husband (an attorney)wants to know what law says that they must accomodate her. Help me on that.

I do not want a big fight. I am upset because they made no attempt to accomodate. If they would have tried & then it didn't make sense...I would have been happy with some sort of effort.

My husband keeps telling me that we don't want Calista at a place that doesn't care and we can't force them to care.

Please pass along laws(TX) or cases that back up my claim that a school can't do this.

Thanks in advance! I feel like I've already learned so much from these boards.

Mom to 2 Beautiful Girls
Taylor 5 - no allergies
Calista 1 - Peanut Allergy

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 5:39am
lreichpink's picture
Joined: 03/19/2007 - 09:00

Wow! I can't believe that! I wish I had constructive HELP for you. All I can say is, when was being a vegetarian a physical NEED for a child/person??? Will those vegetarian kids DIE if they eat an animal product? What is this world coming to???
Sympathy for you,

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 7:04am
Momcat's picture
Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Check out this thread:
Especially "La Petite Academy"
Your child is protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act.) Public and private preschools (except church run schools) must comply with the ADA.
Try to get them to put their refusal in writing. This will strengthen your case.
Also, read:
Especially this part:
19. Q: What about children who have severe, sometimes life-threatening allergies to bee stings or certain foods? Do we have to take them?
A: Generally, yes. Children cannot be excluded on the sole basis that they have been identified as having severe allergies to bee stings or certain foods. A center needs to be prepared to take appropriate steps in the event of an allergic reaction, such as administering a medicine called "epinephrine" that will be provided in advance by the child's parents or guardians.
The Department of Justice's settlement agreement with La Petite Academy addresses this issue and others (see question 26).
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 4 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 10:12am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

You can file a complaint with your state's civil rights commission if your state has a law prohibiting disability discrimination by places of public accommodation (analogous to Title III of the ADA, which is enforced by the DOJ). The state civil rights commission will first try to mediate, but if that's not successful, they will probably pursue an investigation/hearing.
You can also file a complaint with the DOJ, and you can request mediation from their rep, but it'll probably be more effective and faster to go through the state CRC.
My daughter was kicked out of her preschool after they refused to accommodate, and we had a mediation session with our state's CRC. It is good to get them to state their reason for denying admission/refusing to accommodate in writing before you file your complaint.
[This message has been edited by Stephie's Mom (edited March 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:43pm
qdebbie1's picture
Joined: 02/10/2005 - 09:00

Do they receive government funding?

Posted on: Tue, 03/20/2007 - 4:56pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Calista's Mom:
[b]My husband keeps telling me that we don't want Calista at a place that doesn't care and we can't force them to care.
While I believe you have some legal precedence on your side (see Momcat's post), and I am a strong believer in holding institutions accountable, my perspective tends to be a little bit different when it comes to pre-school, since it is a time when children are at their most vulnerable. They are still learning about their allergy, they don't have the verbal capacity to articulate things as well as older kids, etc...
So...I think you do need to consider your husband's perspective on this. You'll have to find the right answer for you, but in the pre-school years, I think that I personally would have been very hesitant to trust that type of situation, even if I were to be successful in forcing them to do the right thing. Some of it may depend on how important you feel it is for your child to be at this particular school. Good luck, and sorry you had to face this sort of blatant discrimination.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:06am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Well, now several daycares have turned us down. They just won't provide a peanut-free classroom. She's only 15 months'd think they'd be able to accomodate us.
So very frustrated. My heart breaks for all the other parents going through this. I know that if I was asked by another parent to accomodate their child, I would not hesitate. I guess my child's life is not important to other parents. What type of world do we live in??? Sorry for the frustration, we are still learning to manage this. I hate that Calista will have to deal with this forever. I pray for a cure.
Mom to 2 Beautiful Girls
Taylor 5 - no allergies
Calista 1 - Peanut Allergy

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:56am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

So sorry. [img][/img] I sympathize.
We never were told "No, we won't take you child." It was always done through more nefarious means...
"We'll hold your application until we can arrange to _____," and then viola, no more spaces are available.... [i]THAT[/i] is still my all-time favorite. Neatly makes an end-run around the law that most attorneys would even be hard-pressed to argue.
"We'll need you to sign this waiver saying that you understand that we can't guarantee her safety....." blah, blah, blah....
"We're concerned about your daughter's safety...."
"You have to understand that having her here makes the staff very nervous...."
"Maybe this isn't the best environment for _____" (this after reactions scared the cr@pola out of said 'staff' in above statement).
"We'll just call you when we serve peanut butter and you can come and pick her up."
We finally just gave up after about five actual tries and literally dozens of telephone calls.
You're right-- it is a very harsh lesson for my daughter, but I'm actually a little glad that we have been unable to shield her from it-- yes, it is very upsetting to her. It is heartbreaking for [i]us.[/i] But she has dealt with it quite matter-of-factly, and though it pains me to admit this, [i]that is a skill she is going to NEED all her life.[/i] You can't legislate compassion or decency.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 3:57am
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

The legal stuff has been covered, so I'll offer up some other things.
First of all, I was going to suggest Children's Courtyard, since they're peanut free (not the extent that I let DS eat their food, with few exceptions), but to the extent that I trusted his being there. However, they're only in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston areas (I'm in Houston). However, look for other larger centers like that.
Second of all, my DS, who is PA, is a vegetarian by choice. He eats Sunbutter. Can you offer to buy each family one jar of creamy sunbutter so they can try it? There are other options. Hummus is one (it contains chickpeas, though, if that's a concern for you). Cheese and yogurt contain protein. It's intersting and challenging, but it's not hard to find protein sources other than PB.
Except for religious reasons, [i]vegetarianism is a choice. Food allergies are not.[/i]
We teach DS this--and we tell him that he can expect people to accomodate his food allergies, but not his vegetarianism.
This school does need to accomodate. As far as I remember, the La Petite case is about administering medication, not about providing a safe environment, but I could be wrong about that.
Still, they do have to accodomate, and you can talk with an ADA specialist at the US Dept. of Justice if you have questions.
DS was at a daycare that went peanut free, and it can be done. There was some resistance, but it wasn't vehement, although after he was out, they started allowing PB again.
I wish you luck. It's a stressful situation. You've got understanding folks here.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:05am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Dd now age 12 was turned down by 40 daycares and preschools back in 1998. The Justice Dept took our case and they only take 5% of the cases submitted to them. Yes, it is very sad. I was hoping things would have changed by now.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:20am
Momcat's picture
Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Carefulmom, what was the outcome of your case?
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited May 02, 2007).]


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