Disability Law

Teen Claims School Violated ADA by Barring Basketball with Service Dog

A Chicago area teen claims in a lawsuit that her high school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when it barred her from playing basketball with the help of her service dog.

Jenny Youngwith, 17, has a respiratory disorder and other disabilities, and her dog, Simba, totes two oxygen tanks to help her breathing when she is active, according to stories in the Daily Herald and the Associated Press.

Youngwith wants to play on a Special Olympics team at West Chicago’s Community High School. A group called Equip for Equality filed the suit on her behalf against both the school district and the Special Olympics. It cites the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and state law, the Daily Herald says.

Special Olympics Illinois President Doug Snyder refused to comment on the suit, but he said the group has to make decisions based on the safety of all the athletes, the stories say. School board President Katherine Doremus told the Daily Herald that “it’s a very difficult situation and it’s very sad.” She added that, “in this environment, spending a lot of money on lawsuits for something that is not a high school activity can be challenging, unfortunately.”

Hat tip to the Illinois State Bar Association’s Daily Legal News.

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