- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - The mother of an autistic boy who was barred from the women’s locker room at a recreation center has won a legal battle with the city of Detroit.

She filed a complaint with the U.S. Attorneys office after the Adams Butzel Recreation Center denied her request to bring her 5-year-old son into the women’s locker room because he needed help changing into his swimsuit.

“Parents of children with disabilities work hard to make sure that their children have the same opportunities for recreation as children without disabilities. Our office is committed to supporting these families by working with them to bring down barriers that may be in their children’s way,” U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said.

In this case, the Adams Butzel Recreation Center denied the mother’s request because its current policy prohibits children older than 18 months from entering locker rooms designated for the opposite sex. The center’s staff suggested that she bring a male relative with her to help the child change, allow a male staff member to assist the child in the men’s locker room, or visit another club.

None of these options were acceptable, so the mother filed her complaint with the U.S. Attorneys office, which investigates claims regarding alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As a result, the city settled the case and agreed to adopt a new policy requiring reasonable modifications to the Adams Butzel Recreation Center’s locker room policies for children with disabilities, McQuade told the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/1q2u3rK ). The modifications to the center’s policies include allowing children who are accompanied by an adult of the opposite sex to change in a curtained area in the locker room designated for members of the adult’s sex, or allowing both the child and the adult to use the lifeguards’ locker room.

The new policy will be posted at the Adams Butzel Recreation Center and staff will be trained on the new policy and their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city also will refund the dues and fees that the mother paid to the center.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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