Mum Accuses Pool Of Discriminating Against 8-Year-Old Son
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
January 12, 2005
BARNSLEY, ENGLAND--Eight-year-old Samuel Doran wants to take swimming lessons at Hoyland Swimming Pool, which is near his home.
But Barnsley Premier Leisure, the charitable company that owns the pool, said the boy, who has Down syndrome, cannot take mainstream lessons because his mother insists on being with him until he is comfortable in the new setting.
"Samuel absolutely loves swimming and is already confident in the water," said his mother, Elaine. "Samuel has no behavioral problems and the only difference to any other eight-year-old starting mainstream lessons is that I would need to go in the water with him until he became familiar with the new environment."
According to the BBC, a spokesman for the organization said the pool must follow guidelines set by the national Institute of Sport and Recreation Management, and the Amateur Swimming Association. Those guidelines do not allow parents in the water during mainstream sessions, he said.
The spokesman added that the company does run "special" sessions for people with disabilities at another facility in Barnsley.
Mrs. Doran told the Yorkshire Post that pool officials initially told her that allowing her to go into the water "would open the doors for others to get in the water during lessons".
The pool then sent her a letter explaining that it would be too costly for them to modify the pool for Samuel.
Mrs. Doran, a teacher, told the Post she doesn't believe any modification is needed. She just wants to be in the pool during Samuel's first few lessons.
The Post pointed out that pool staff insist that all children under the age of eight must always be accompanied by an adult.
The family has decided to take legal action against the pool's owners.
The Disability Rights Commission is now backing the complaint, which the family's attorney says is a "very clear case of discrimination against Samuel".