Parents of deaf boy sue Greensburg for not providing sign language interpreter for soccer league
The parents of an 8-year-old boy who is deaf are suing Greensburg for failing to provide an interpreter for the child while he plays in the city soccer program.
The suit was filed Thursday in federal court in Pittsburgh for the child, who is referred to as “S.A.” in the complaint. His parents are identified only by initials, “A.A.” and “J.A.”
They asked the court to rule the city discriminated against the boy by not supplying an American Sign Language interpreter and to order the city to supply one in the future.
But the city contends it is under no obligation to provide an interpreter for a non-resident playing in a voluntary league.
In addition, the parents seek compensatory damages and for the city to pay the costs to file the suit.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act require that governments do not discriminate against people with disabilities, according to the complaint.
The city has discriminated against the boy “by failing to provide an ASL interpreter at soccer practices and games so that he can participate fully and equally and receive the same benefits as children without disabilities who participate in defendant's soccer programs,” it says.
The parents asked city officials to provide an interpreter when the boy started playing soccer in spring 2012, according to the complaint.
The recreation department's soccer program operates with two seasons a year at Lynch Field, one in the fall and one in the spring. The boy did not take part in the fall 2012 season.
The boy's mother, who is a certified interpreter, assumed interpreter responsibilities during the spring 2012 season after the city failed to do so upon request, according to the suit.
She was unable to serve as interpreter during the 2013 seasons or this year, and no interpreter was provided by the city, the suit maintains.
The boys wants to continue playing soccer but needs to be able to communicate with his coach and teammates to “learn skills, ask questions, communicate his ideas and play as a member of the team,” the suit says.
Attorneys for the boy contacted the city's solicitor in March and related the law required the city to provide a interpreter, the complaint states.
Solicitor Bernard McArdle responded on Thursday that he knows of no requirement that a municipality supply an interpreter for a recreation program coached by volunteers. City council has an obligation to spend taxpayer money wisely, he said.
“This is a voluntary recreation league,” McArdle said. “The city will follow the law, but we don't believe there's a legal requirement to provide a signer in a municipal recreation league to a non-resident,” he said.
McArdle estimated an interpreter would cost the city between $6,000 and $10,000 a year for the two-season program.
The matter will be turned over to counsel for the city's insurance carrier, McArdle said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Three teens injured in one-vehicle crash in Hempfield
- 10 escape Greensburg house fire
- 3 injured in crash that ties up Route 22 in Salem for nearly 8 hours
- Greensburg torture killer Marinucci returns to court seeking lighter sentence
- Rival Westmoreland vape shops develop own specialties
- Unity to decide July 9 on disputed gas station
- St. Vincent professor, students use interviews for drug addiction data
- Mt. Pleasant Borough’s ‘Party in the Park’ to be held Friday, July 3
- Mt Pleasant police officer assaulted while making arrest
- Hempfield Area balances budget with 1.79-mill tax increase
- Empty bottles lead police to suspect in Mt. Pleasant Township burglary