Swim Club Discriminated Against Minority Kids: Panel

Suburban Philly club could face millions of dollars in fines for booting camp
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2009 1:50 AM CDT
Quadir Preston and Asjah Anthony, both 9, demonstrate in front of the Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., earlier this year.    (AP Photo/Mark Stehle)
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(Newser) – A state panel has found that a Philadelphia-area swim club racially discriminated against a day camp group of mostly black and Hispanic children when it canceled an agreement to let them swim, the Philadelpha Inquirer reports. The panel examined the Valley Club's actions and communications before and after the agreement was revoked with the Creative Steps camp. "Racial animus" and "racially coded comments" from members were the cause for the switch, the panel ruled.

The panel—which noted that the club had no black members this year—ordered the club to pay a $50,000 penalty for discrimination against one of the children. The fine could run into the millions if it is applied for each child. A lawyer for the club said the decision "has nothing to do with the actual facts" and will be appealed. "The die was cast by the media firestorm. They had no choice but to reach the decision they did," he said.