NLDline

Subj:    ALERT: DAY CARE CENTER ORDERED TO ACCOMMODATE CHILD
Date:    3/20/00 12:57:21 PM Pacific Standard Time
From:    webmaster@wrightslaw.com (Wrightslaw)
Sender:    owner-special-ed-advocate@wrightslaw.com
To:    special-ed-advocate@wrightslaw.com

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ALERT: DAY CARE CENTER ORDERED TO ACCOMMODATE CHILD UNDER ADA

Christoff Abraham is three years old. He was born with physical and cognitive disabilities and takes medication for these problems.

Christoff must also drink 16-24 ounces of water in the morning when he wakes up. Consuming this volume of water affects young Christoff’s appetite. He must eat breakfast a little later than most three year olds.

* CHRISTOFF ENROLLED IN AARDVARK *

On December 20,1999, Christoff was enrolled the Aardvark Day Care Center, a privately owned and operated center in Pennsylvania. He attended the Aardvark preschool program pursuant to an IEP from the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania.

According to Christoff’s therapists, while he attended Aardvark “he made substantial gains” in skills, “seemed to be very happy,” and “appeared to be doing wonderfully in his new environment.” (Complaint, paragraph 28)

“Christoff was excited about Aardvark, related that he loved his school, and demonstrated an enthusiasm for learning and the social interaction that he was experiencing.” (Complaint, paragraph 29)

“The staff at Aardvark reported that Christoff had ‘great days’ each day that he was at school and interacted well with the other children.” (Complaint, paragraph 30)

Christoff’s doctor advised that he needed to eat breakfast AFTER he arrived at the day care center. Christoff’s mother asked the day care center staff to allow him to eat breakfast AFTER he arrived at the day care center.

The director of Aardvark Day Care Center refused. Why?

Aardvark had a “breakfast policy” that “All children and infants must be fed breakfast before arriving at the Center.” (Complaint, paragraph 34)

* CHRISTOFF KICKED OUT OF AARDVARK *

On January 3, 2000, the director of Aardvark advised that Christoff would be “terminated” from their preschool program on January 17, 2000.

Christoff was being kicked out of Aardvark. Because of his disability, he couldn’t conform to the day care center’s
“breakfast policy.” The day care center refused to modify their policy.

Christoff’s mother tried to resolve the problem. She met with the director of Aardvark and offered to send a prepared breakfast with her son. Her offer was refused. The Delaware County services coordinator asked Aardvark to provide Christoff with a “reasonable accommodation.”

Aardvark held firm. Christoff could not eat breakfast at the center.

On January 18, Christoff was kicked out of preschool. The center returned his “change of clothes, blanket, and show-and-tell toys” to his mother. (Complaint, paragraph 42)

* LAWSUIT FILED UNDER AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) *

On January 21, 2000, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia filed suit on behalf of Christoff in the U. S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

The Complaint requested a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order or a Preliminary Injunction under the Americans with Disabilities Act:

“Currently Christoff does not have a placement . . . and is not receiving his special education and related services as provided for under the IDEA.” (Complaint, paragraph 4)

* JUDGE ENTERS ORDER *

On Friday, March 10, 2000, Judge Charles R. Weiner entered an Order:

“. . . it is hereby ordered that Aardvark Day Care and Learning Center immediately readmit Christoff Abraham . . . and begin providing his educational services on Monday, March 13, 2000.”

“It is FURTHER ORDERED that Aardvark move its snack time from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and the Aardvark staff person who supervises the children who are eating their snack will also supervise Christoff in the eating of his breakfast at snack time.”

* DOCUMENTS AT WRIGHTSLAW *

The Order and the Complaint are in the Wrightslaw Law Library at this URL -

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/daycare_order_complaint.PDF

The Press Release, Motion for a Restraining Order / Preliminary Injunction, and subsequent Memorandum of Law in support of the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction are in the Law Library at Wrightslaw at this URL -

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/pleadings/daycare_request_injunction_press_release.PDF

NOTE FROM WRIGHTSLAW: These files are in Adobe Acrobat PDF and are large (378k and 416k). It may be easier for you to download the files to your hard drive, then open them.

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can download this free software at

http://www.adobe.com

* P.A.R.C. CASE *

On pages 9, 309, and 330 of our book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, you will read references to the landmark special education case, Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1971).

http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/ourbooks/Wrightslaw_Sped_Law.htm

The P.A.R.C. and Mills (1972) cases triggered enactment of Public Law 94-142. Public Law 94-142 was renamed and amended and is now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

* THE PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER OF PHILADELPHIA *

The Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia represented the children in P.A.R.C.

Attorneys, advocates, and parents of children with disabilities are indebted to the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. These hard working attorneys continue to open doors for children and adults with disabilities.

We will provide more information about the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia in a subsequent newsletter.

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GET THE NEWS FROM WRIGHTSLAW

For an easy-to-read, “printer-friendly” copy of this article, go to

http://www.wrightslaw.com/news/2000/Alert_Christoff_00_0320.htm

For links to the most recent cases and articles and, check NEWS FROM WRIGHTSLAW at

http://www.wrightslaw.com/mainpage_what_new.htm

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