Muslim Advocates and local Delaware counsel filed a lawsuit against the City of Wilmington, Delaware after City officials discriminated against children at a Muslim youth camp and prevented them for accessing their local public swimming pool.
Darul Amaanah Academy is an Islamic youth enrichment program based in Wilmington, Delaware. The Academy was founded with the express purpose of fostering pride among the predominantly-African American Muslim community and providing local children with positive role models. For years, the Academy has run a summer camp that hosts fun activities, including swim time at the local public pool.
Some of the participants of the Darul Amaanah Academy, consistent with their religious beliefs, wear t-shirts, leggings, and headscarves when in public places, including at the pool. Darul Amaanah students have swam at Wilmington public pools for years without incident, but during summer 2017, pool staff repeatedly harassed the children because of their attire, even ejecting them from public pools on multiple occasions. Pool staff and the City fabricated a purported “no-cotton” policy in an attempt to justify their actions. Despite multiple complaints from Academy staff and parents, the City refused to remedy its discriminatory conduct.
On August 22, 2018, Muslim Advocates, along with local Delaware counsel, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Academy and the families whose children were affected by the City’s discriminatory actions. The complaint alleges that the City of Wilmington violated both the Delaware and U.S. Constitutions and other laws when its employees working at public pools repeatedly, and without any legitimate justification, harassed children attending the Academy’s summer camp—some as young as preschoolers—simply because of their religion and/or race.
In January 2019, Muslim Advocates and our co-counsel successfully negotiated and finalized a settlement agreement with the City. Under the settlement terms, the City has agreed to revise its pool policy to accommodate clothing worn out of financial necessity or sincere religious beliefs; provide additional training to all pool employees; extend the summer pool season; and provide $50,000 in compensation to our clients.
Date filed: August 22, 2018
Court(s): Delaware Chancery Court
Co-Counsel: Cliff Gardner, Esq.; Bonnie David, Esq.; Kaitlin Maloney, Esq.; Haley Stern, Esq.