M.W., et al. v. United States Department of the Army, et al.
DRA filed this lawsuit to challenge a nationwide, antiquated U.S. Army policy that prohibits staff in its Child, Youth and School Services (“CYSS”) programs from administering critical medications and providing vital support to children with diabetes in their care. As long as the policy is in place, children with diabetes cannot participate safely in Army CYSS programs and, as such, are excluded from all daycare services, in-home child care services, programs for students and teens, summer camps, and youth sports programs on military bases throughout the country. This exclusion of children with diabetes violates the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federal government programs.
The lawsuit is brought by the American Diabetes Association and a child, referred to in the lawsuit as M.W., who is unable to participate in CYSS’s after-school programming at the Presidio of Monterey because of her diabetes. M.W. was forced to leave her CYSS program after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five. Because the U.S. Army forbids CYSS staff members from assisting M.W. with blood glucose monitoring and administering insulin, or even providing a rescue medication called glucagon in an emergency, CYSS no longer offers a safe environment for M.W. and she is effectively excluded from the program. Plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), a leading national nonprofit legal center.
Mary-Lee Smith, Director of Litigation at DRA, explained, “This discriminatory policy provides little choice for parents who are effectively forced to pull their children out of the U.S. Army’s high-quality programs or face jeopardizing their lives. The policy illegally excludes children with diabetes entirely because of a disability, and must come to an immediate end.”
“Schools, daycares, summer camps, and after school programs across the country welcome children with diabetes and give them the support they need to participate on an equal basis,” said Rebecca Williford, Senior Staff Attorney at DRA. “It is appalling that the Army is so behind the times, especially because so many military families have no alternative to the CYSS care provided on their bases.”