DOJ settlement ensures equal treatment for children with diabetes at NC YMCAs


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh dad has been fighting for three years not just for the sake of his son’s health but other kids too.

The Department of Justice announced a settlement with the YMCA of the Triangle Thursday.

The settlement requires the YMCA to make several changes because of a case involving Bruce Hatcher’s diabetic son.

What worried Hatcher was that there wasn’t anyone around to treat his son in an emergency.

But the settlement is changing that.

Hatcher’s son Christian has been living with Type 1 diabetes since the child was a toddler.

“He could be hypoglycemic, and he could come into a coma. And, if you don’t have someone to treat that or understand that or recognize that, then it could be a real problem,” Hatcher said.

Three years ago, Hatcher said Christian’s after-school program, run by the YMCA of the Triangle, was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Hatcher said the agency was not willing to administer shots if Christian’s blood sugar dropped.

That was when Hatcher filed a complaint with the Department of Justice.

“That was my passion, to make it right so everybody else would not have to go through the same thing we did,” Hatcher said.

Under a settlement announced Thursday, the YMCA has to take several steps which includes:

  • Adopting a non-discrimination policy
  • Training staff on the ADA and diabetes management
  • Update the government on its compliance

George Allen, who is vice president of risk management at the YMCA, said these are steps the organization began taking soon after the complaint was filed.

“We immediately engaged staff, so that they could be properly trained, so they could recognize the signs and symptoms of what this condition was,” Allen said.

Hatcher said the process has been frustrating but he’s happy with the outcome.

“It’s tough when you know you can’t give your son the treatment that they need when they have this disability that they don’t deserve,” Hatcher said.

The YMCA of the Triangle also has to pay Hatcher $5,000.

Hatcher said his primary concern was other kids who may also be diabetic.

He hasn’t decided if he will enroll his son in YMCA after-school programs again.

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