Oklahoma child development center fined after allegedly trying to expel child with Down Syndrome
OKLAHOMA CITY – An agreement has been reached between the Justice Department and a child development center in Oklahoma City after the center is accused of discriminating against a child with Down Syndrome.
The Justice Department said Camelot Child Development Center of Oklahoma City and Edmond violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Officials allege that a child with Down Syndrome was left behind on field trips and almost expelled because she was not fully toilet trained.
It’s a form of alleged discrimination the Department of Justice has been investigating at Camelot Child Development Center for over a year now.
Officials with the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Council on Disability Concerns said they are pleased the day care is being held responsible for their actions and applauds the family who took this all the way to Washington D.C.
“I’m glad that the family followed through with it and that they ensured the rights of their daughter were upheld,” Council Chair Elect Sidna Madden said. “It’s nice to see something like that happen in our community and I think it sets a precedent too.”
Now Camelot must change their policies to ensure children with disabilities are treated equally, pay the family $3,000, provide a year of free day care services for the child and will be monitored by the justice department for three years.
We talked with other parents who said they feel the punishment fits the crime.
“Well that seems fair,” Fred Richard said. “If the law is inclusive for everybody and everybody ought to abide by it, you break the law then you have to pay the penalty.”
Claudia Navarro said, “As a day care, I feel like you go into that field knowing what you’re going to be exposed to so you should be able to expect that situation and handle it well.”
Camelot said it had no intentions of causing the family stress while learning about the child’s needs and insists the day care has a wonderful relationship with the family but that family did not stop fighting and are now likely trail blazers for other children with disabilities.
“That’s a huge step for them,” Madden said. “And it’s a huge step for their daughter, especially at a very young age.”
The Camelot Child Development Center sent us this statement:
“We would like to emphasize our prior support and continued support of the family involved. Our management and staff maintain a wonderful relationship with this family and will continue to provide quality care in a positive environment.
As to the findings, we had no intention of causing the family stress during conversations regarding providing a good experience for the child, learning about the child’s specific needs and providing the best quality of care we are able to as we do for all our children.
Camelot provided staff trainings, made appropriate accommodation and continued a good communicative relationship with all parties involved long before we received notice of a complaint and for the year and a half since interviewing with the ADA.
Camelot is happy to continue to do our best to support this family and maintain a consistent positive care situation for the child”