US mom sues group, says it excluded boy with Down syndrome

Steven Heffron, Denise Watts_21086

In this Tuesday, July 7, 2015 photo, Steven Heffron, 6, and his mother, Denise Watts, play in Smale Riverfront Park in downtown Cincinnati. Watts has filed a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination, saying an Ohio YMCA excluded her son from summer camp because he has Down syndrome and treated him hypocritically after using him in promotions […]

CINCINNATI (AP) — The mother of a 6-year-old boy with Down syndrome says in a federal lawsuit that a community group in Ohio excluded him from a summer camp and some other programs because of his disability and treated him hypocritically after using him in promotions extolling opportunities for everyone.

Denise Watts is alleging discrimination by a local YMCA community center. Such groups usually provide afterschool and fitness programs.

The lawsuit says the group violated legislation guaranteeing the rights of the disabled by not providing “reasonable accommodations” in its programs and by discriminating and retaliating against her son based on his disability. The lawsuit wants the YMCA to provide such accommodations and seeks unspecified damages.

Attorney Michael Hawkins is representing the YMCA. He says it is gathering facts before commenting.Copyright 2015 AP/WJBF. All rights reserved. 

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