Settlement requires camp to accommodate child with epilepsy

Image of kids around a campfire
A Maryland kids camp must provide reasonable accommodations for camper with epilepsy

The Department of Justice and a Maryland-based summer camp announced a comprehensive settlement June 24, in response to a complaint that the camp violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to admit a camper with epilepsy.

Camp Bravo, located in Towson just outside of Baltimore, operates a summer camp for children, starting at age four and a half and continuing through the sixth grade.

A then-seven-year-old girl signed up for Camp Bravo in 2011. In the event that the girl’s epilepsy provokes a seizure, the girl requires that another person administer Diastat, an emergency medication.

Although Camp Bravo has designated staff for administering CPR and other first aid, the camp did not have a person properly trained to administer Diastat. The Camp thus denied her application, and again in 2012, prompting the girl’s mother to file a complaint with the DOJ under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the ADA, places of public accommodation, such as Camp Bravo, are required to provide reasonable accommodations to provide equal access to people with disabilities, provided that the accommodation does not fundamentally alter the services provided.

For the DOJ, a requirement that camps’ failure to train a person to administer Diastat violated this requirement.

“Equal access to camps and child care programs is essential to children and parents across the country,” said Vanita Gupta, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, in a news release. “These programs allow children with disabilities to learn and play with their peers and develop important social skills.”

“The Civil Rights Division will not allow the exclusion of children with seizure disorders where life-saving medication can be safely administered by trained laypersons.”

The settlement requires Camp Bravo to train staff to provide emergency anti-seizure medication and adopt a non-discrimination policy. It must also provide the girl’s family $8,000 in compensation and allow her to attend the camp in future sessions.

The DOJ will monitor for a minimum of three years, depending on whether Camp Bravo complies with the terms of the agreement.