UPDATE: Boy Pulled From Camp Over Policy Denying Medication
NEW: Boys And Girls Club May Be Violating Americans With Disabilities Act
Ceasar Sanchez, 10, liked his time at the Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region, but last week week, his mother pulled him out over a policy dispute.
The club told her that his EpiPen, which is used for allergic reactions, wasn't allowed.
"They told me he could come back. It's that his medication couldn't," said Renee Gonzalez, Ceasar's mother.
She now wants the club to change its policy toward certain medications.
"The bottom line stands that for an individual that needs this medication, they should be allowed to have it," said Gonzalez.
The Boys and Girls Club of the Pikes Peak Region is standing firm with its policy, which Gonzalez understood when she enrolled her son in the program.
The policy states, "Club staff should be appropriately notified in regards to any medications a member of a club is taking. Club staff is not responsible for administration of medications. All medications should be taken prior or after attending the club."
James Sullivan III, the director of the Boys and Girls Club, told TARGET 13 that the issue isn't just the safety of Ceasar, but that of all those who attend the club.
"You wouldn't want any child walking around with an EpiPen or any controlled substance; it's not much different from any school system," he said.
TARGET 13 did an Internet search of other Boys and Girls Clubs across the county and found many did allow EpiPens. Sullivan was surprised by the findings but said his staff isn't trained for administering medications and again said it falls in line with the local school system.
Ceasar knows how to use the EpiPen and hasn't had a severe allergy attack since he was a toddler.
When asked if he feels different from other kids because he has to carry an EpiPen around, Ceasar said, "Yes, it does. I feel kind of different than other people."
His mother feels the club is discriminating against kids who need life-saving medication.
Candice Alder, with Meeting The Challenge, an information center for the Americans with Disability Act, said the club needs to revise its medicine policy.
"An allergy could be considered a disability under the ADA," Alder said.
She said because Ceasar's food allergy limits one major life activity, which is eating, he would be covered under ADA.
"Title 3 does state under the ADA that entities must modify policies that discriminate against people with disabilities, so they can allow those individuals equal access," said Alder.
TARGET 13 tried following up with Sullivan, but he didn't return a call Wednesday.
Dr. John Torres said the medication is about life and death for those with severe allergies.
"Usually, you don't have minutes, you only have seconds, and you need that at all times, and that includes when he's at the club," said Torres.
Sullivan offered the family a solution to the problem: the Boys and Girls Club licensed daycare. The family turned it down because the costs were $130 more a week.
""The Boys and Girls Club of America prides itself on helping all children, and they don't say all children except those who need medication," said Gonzalez.
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