NAD Files Suit on Behalf of Deaf Boy Scout

NAD Files Suit on Behalf of Deaf Boy Scout

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and the law firm of Chason,
Rosner, Leary & Marshall L.L.C., filed a complaint in federal court against
the National Capital Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (NCAC), alleging
that the NCAC has failed to ensure effective communication for one of its
troop members, Wolfgang Staley, who is deaf. The complaint was filed in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of Maryland.

Despite requests by the boy’s mother, Cindy Officer, the NCAC has refused to
provide ASL interpreters at troop meetings and at their monthly outgoings.
The NCAC troop meetings and monthly outgoings include immense amount of
information, including safety information, which cannot be effectively
communicated to Wolfgang other than through an ASL interpreter. As such, he
is deprived of full participation in various Boy Scouts activities and
unable to reap benefits that other boys of the NCAC enjoy, whether it is an
opportunity to create intimate friendships with fellow troop members or
develop leadership skills during a weekend outgoing.

“The NCAC refusal to provide ASL interpreters violates Title III of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act. Their actions discriminate against Wolfgang Staley solely based on his
deafness, and against Cindy Officer based on her association with Wolfgang
Staley,” said Debra Patkin, NAD Law and Advocacy staff attorney. “The NAD
requests that the U.S. District Court declare that the NCAC refusal to
provide interpreters at its events is a violation of the ADA and the
Rehabilitation Act. The filing further requests that the court award money
damages to the plaintiffs.”

“The intent of the ADA was to promote and ensure inclusion of individuals
with disabilities in daily activities. The NAD is committed to removing
communication barriers that discriminate against deaf and hard of hearing
people,” said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. “They should be granted
the same opportunities for teamwork, leadership, socialization, and skill
building that the NCAC provides to hundreds of boys in the District of
Columbia and nearby counties.”


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