WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia against Nobel Learning Communities Inc. (Nobel) alleging the company violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act by excluding children with autism spectrum disorders and other disabilities from its schools and programs.
The complaint identifies children with disabilities denied admission to or removed from Nobel schools in several states. Nobel is a network of more than 180 private preschools, elementary schools and secondary schools in fifteen states, operating under various names including Chesterbrook Academies, Evergreen Academies, Bethesda Country Day School and Merryhill Schools. Nobel also provides child care services and summer programs.
"All parents want their child to have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department will vigorously enforce Title III of the ADA to ensure that children with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to participate in academic and non-academic activities."
Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, including private schools such as Nobel, from excluding individuals with disabilities from programs or services offered by the public accommodation. Covered entities must also make reasonable modifications if such modifications would permit the individual with a disability a full and equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from the programs and services offered. Parents or guardians who believe their child may have been discriminated against on the basis of disability can contact the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Those interested in finding out more about federal disability rights statutes can call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY), or access the ADA Web site at www.ada.gov.