THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
APPLE TREE CHILDREN’S CENTER
D.J. NO. 202-28-64
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America and Bradford Child Care Services, Inc., doing business as Apple Tree Children’s Center (“Apple Tree”), located in Norwalk, Iowa.
- The matter was initiated by a Complaint, D.J. No. 202-28-64, filed with the United States Department of Justice (“United States”) against Apple Tree Children’s Center which alleges violations of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36.
- The Complainant is the father of a five-year-old boy who has Down Syndrome. The Complainant alleges that on March 31, 2011, Apple Tree notified him that his son could not continue at Apple Tree and would not accept his son for the following school year.
- Apple Tree is a privately owned and funded nonprofit preschool program that provides preschool educational services in a group setting and is, therefore, a place of public accommodation covered by title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(K).
- The United States is authorized to investigate alleged violations of title III of the ADA, and to bring a civil action in federal court if the United States is unable to secure voluntary compliance in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance.
42 U.S.C. § 12188(b). Ensuring that children with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from private school programs is an issue of public importance.
- The ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as Apple Tree, from discriminating against any individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). The ADA also prohibits public accommodations from subjecting an individual, on the basis of disability, to a denial of the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of an entity. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(1)(A)(i). Failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities is also discriminatory unless the modifications would constitute a fundamental alteration. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii).
- Apple Tree denies that it committed any violation of title III of the ADA and asserts that it provided services to the Complainant’s son from June 2008 to April 2011 when it determined that it could no longer meet the child’s needs.
- Apple Tree further asserts that it has established policies and procedures that are designed to provide children with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from Apple Tree’s programs and services.
- In order to comply with title III of the ADA, Apple Tree agrees to adopt and implement the Non-Discrimination Policy and training set forth in this Agreement.
- In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, and in particular the provisions in Paragraphs 11 through 15, the United States agrees to refrain from taking further action in this matter, except as provided in Paragraph 17.
II. Terms of Agreement
- Apple Tree agrees to adopt the Nondiscrimination Policy attached as Appendix A to this Agreement.
- Apple Tree agrees to provide children with disabilities, including children with Down Syndrome, an equal opportunity to attend Apple Tree consistent with the requirements of title III of the ADA. Apple Tree further agrees to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices and procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford its programs and services to children with disabilities, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the programs and services.
- Within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Apple Tree shall provide training on Apple Tree’s obligations under title III of the ADA to all individuals who participate in the admissions process, enrollment decisions, and/or consideration of requests for reasonable modifications of any Apple Tree policy, practice or procedure. Apple Tree shall provide new employees with comparable responsibilities hired during the term of this Agreement with the training set forth in Paragraph 12 within sixty (60) days of their start date.
- Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Apple Tree shall designate a staff member (“ADA Compliance Officer”) who shall have the responsibility for ensuring that the policies and procedures set forth in this Agreement are fully complied with and implemented. The ADA Compliance Officer will review all decisions to exclude from enrollment any child with a disability and all decisions to deny a request for a reasonable modification for a child with a disability.
- Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Apple Tree will send to the Complainant by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by overnight mail, at the address provided by the United States, a copy of the Agreement and the release form attached as Appendix B. Within thirty (30) days of receiving the signed release form, Apple Tree will send a certified check in the amount of Two Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($2,500) to the Complainants, as parents of the minor child at issue in DJ #202-28-64. Apple Tree will send the certified check by certified or overnight mail to the address provided by the United States. A copy of the check and the accompanying letter shall be sent to counsel for the United States.
III. Enforcement and Implementation
- This Agreement fully and finally resolves any and all of the allegations by the Complainant and the United States in this matter with respect to ADA Complaint DJ# 202-28-64. It is not intended to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA.
- The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that Apple Tree has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining advance written agreement with the United States for a modification of the Agreement, the Department will provide written notification to Apple Tree and the parties will attempt to resolve the concerns in good faith. The United States will give Apple Tree thirty (30) days from the date it notifies Apple Tree of any breach of this Agreement to cure that breach. If the United States is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with Apple Tree within that period, the United States may bring a civil action in federal district court to enforce this Agreement or title III and may in such action, seek any relief available under law.
- Notices: All notices, reports, or other such documents required by this Agreement shall be sent by fax and by delivery via overnight express mail to the following address:
Sabrina Whitehead Jenkins
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 514-2181 (telephone)
(202) 305-9775 (facsimile)
- It is agreed and understood that this Agreement constitutes a compromise of a disputed claim and is not construed as an admission of liability or wrongdoing by Apple Tree.
- This Agreement shall be binding on Apple Tree and its agents and employees. In the event that Apple Tree seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in any facility covered by this Agreement, and the successor or assign intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility as a condition of sale, Apple Tree shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
- This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United
States and Apple Tree on the matters raised in the Agreement.
- A signatory to this document in a representative capacity for either party represents that he or she is authorized to bind that party to this Agreement.
- Apple Tree will not retaliate against or coerce in any way any person trying to exercise the rights of any person under this Agreement.
- This Agreement shall be in effect for a term of two (2) years from the effective date of this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
Agreed and consented to:
For the United States of America
THOMAS E. PEREZ
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
By: /s/ Sabrina Whitehead Jenkins
Eve L. Hill, Senior Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General
Rebecca Bond, Chief
Kathleen P. Wolfe, Special Litigation Counsel
Jana Erickson, Deputy Chief
Sabrina Whitehead Jenkins, Trial Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
For Apple Tree Children's Center:
/s/ Frank Reabe
CEO and Executive Director
Bradford Child Care Services, Inc.
1370 Washington Pike, Suite 100
Bridgeville, PA 15017
NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY UNDER
THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
In accordance with the requirements of title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Apple Tree Children's Center, Norwalk, Iowa does not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability. Apple Tree makes reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford its services and facilities to individuals with disabilities, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of its services. Apple Tree does not exclude any individual with a disability from the full and equal enjoyment of its services and facilities, unless the individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services. Apple Tree will not exclude any individual from the full and equal enjoyment of its services and facilities because of the individual's association with a person with a disability.