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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Settles Disability Discrimination Allegations at Young Shakespeare Players East

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – The U. S. Attorney’s Office reached a settlement agreement today with Young Shakespeare Players East (YSPE) resolving allegations that the theater company violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide reasonable modifications to a child enrolled in the program and retaliating against another child for her advocacy.

“Children with disabilities should be able to pursue their interests and participate in a full range of programs and activities,” said Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb. “Whenever necessary, reasonable modifications under the ADA must be provided to ensure that all children can take advantage of educational opportunities. Enforcement of the ADA is an important priority of this office, and we applaud children and young adults who advocate for disability rights.”

YSPE is a private, non-profit, theater company for children ages 7-18 that performs full-length works of Shakespeare. The U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that YSPE discriminated against a child with a disability as a result of a peanut allergy, by failing to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices or procedures to permit the child to safely participate in the theater company’s programs. When a second child advocated on behalf of the child with a disability, that child was excluded from participating at YSPE.   

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, YSPE will implement a disability non-discrimination policy; implement a process by which reasonable modifications will be considered and provided to participants with disabilities; and conduct appropriate training.  

This matter was handled by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Dorchak and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann of Weinreb’s Civil Rights Unit.

The Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was established in 2015 with the mission of enhancing federal civil rights enforcement.  For more information on the Office’s civil rights efforts, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-ma/civil-rights

Updated December 18, 2017

Topics
Civil Rights