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 Article of Interest - ADA

Child sues private school in BR under disabilities act

by Brett Barroquere, August 14, 2002

A disabled girl wants a federal judge to force a private school in Baton Rouge to admit and accommodate her.


The girl, identified only as "Lila Doe," sued the Martin Luther King Jr. Christian Academy in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, claiming the school illegally denied her admission because she is disabled.


Gideon Carter, the attorney for "Lila Doe," declined to disclose the nature of the girl's disability or what grade she is in.


Carter said the school rejected her admission application in the 2001-02 school year, and added that the girl is seeking to attend again.


"I can't tell you any more than what's in the lawsuit," Carter said.


Carter wants U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola to order the school to accept the girl this year and make accommodations for her.


A call placed to the school Tuesday was answered by a woman who identified herself as the principal but declined to give her name.


She said she is familiar with the plaintiff, but had no comment about the lawsuit.


"Lila Doe" is suing the school under the Americans With Disabilities Act and under the Louisiana Civil Rights for Handicapped Persons Act.


The laws forbid public and educational institutions from discriminating against someone because of a disability.


The laws also require public facilities, such as schools, to make accommodations for disabled people who are otherwise qualified to attend the school or use the facility.


The school, founded in 1981, enrolls 295 students from early education through middle school, according to its Web site.


"Lila Doe" has been denied admission to the academy, which is at 4295 Prescott Court, because of her disability, Carter wrote.


"Defendant has failed to instruct and train faculty and staff members on the necessity of making reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities," Carter wrote.


The lawsuit does not specify what type of accommodations would be necessary for the girl.

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