Parents who said their children were booted from the day care at Calvary Church in south Charlotte because their kids developed medical conditions have settled their lawsuit with the church, court records show.
Calvary is a nondenominational evangelical church on N.C. 51 that has long been one of the city’s most prominent houses of worship.
Two Mecklenburg County couples sued the church in 2016, saying its child development center expelled their pre-school-aged children after they developed medical conditions, The Charlotte Observer reported at the time. Six more families eventually joined the lawsuit, which claimed Calvary failed to provide “reasonable accommodations” for their children as required by federal law, the Observer reported.
As part of the settlement, Calvary agreed to add a statement to its admission policy that its child development center “will admit children with special needs, if services can be provided with reasonable accommodation,” according to a joint statement filed as part of the settlement in Mecklenburg County Superior Court.
Calvary also agreed to have a registered nurse on hand during the school year and “expand current staff responsibilities to include identification and assessment of special need situations and to provide additional support and training for special education,” the statement said.
The church also agreed to allow “third-party occupational therapists and other medical professionals continued access to the classrooms of students identified as having special needs,” according to the statement.
The statement said that “while Calvary and (the center’s director) steadfastly deny Plaintiff allegations and regret the Plaintiffs’ decision to pursue litigation, Calvary Child Development Center takes seriously the development, education, care and safety of the hundreds of children entrusted to it each year.”
According to the statement, the church also “acknowledges the importance of continually improving policies to better serve children with disabilities and special needs in its community.”
The statement also said “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 settlement involved no financial payment. “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 said.
Charlotte’s Van Kampen law firm represented the families. The Charlotte law firm Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo represented Calvary.