Calvary Church settles child discrimination lawsuit

Church settles Pre-K suit

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A settlement was reached Wednesday in a lawsuit filed in 2016 against a megachurch in south Charlotte that claimed discrimination against children with special needs.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2016 against Calvary Church's Child Development Center. Five families claimed their children were wrongly expelled or asked to leave the school because of perceived or real disabilities.

After the settlement was announced and the lawsuit dismissed on Wednesday, all parties involved released a joint statement.

In that statement, Calvary announced several policy changes the center will be making. Those changes are:

  • Add a statement to its admission policy that states Calvary Child Development Center will admit children with special needs if services can be provided with reasonable accommodation;
  • Retain the services of a registered nurse during the school year to serve students directly;
  • Expand current staff responsibilities to include identification and assessment of special need situations and to  provide additional support and training for special education; and
  • Allow third-party occupational therapists and other medical professionals continued access to the classrooms of students identified as having special needs.

“The Plaintiff families’ primary objective was to bring improvements to Calvary Child Development Center that would further open doors to children with special needs and disabilities in the community," the joint statement read. "Calvary is confident that these policy updates will help it continue and improve upon its more than 40-year record of service to many thousands of Charlotte-area children and their families.”

The families were represented by Sean Hermann, Josh Van Kampen and Kevin Murphy and Calvary was represented by Rob Wilson and Mel Garofalo.

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