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Black children turned away at private pool

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Black children turned away at private pool

Post  Guest on Thu 16 Jul - 1:23

Friday July 10 2009

A private swimming pool is at the centre of a 1960s-style race row after its members allegedly turned away black and Hispanic youngsters and pulled their own children out of the water.

US Police have launched an investigation into the claims by a day-camp chief about the private pool in Huntingdon Valley, a predominantly white suburb of Philadelphia.

The Creative Steps camp had booked a regular Monday afternoon swimming session for its 65 children at The Valley Club, camp director Alethea Wright said.

But she said shortly after they arrived on June 29, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

The club says it has a multi-ethnic membership.

Miss Wright said she heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children aged from about five to 13 years, did not return.

Miss Wright said: "Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded."

Several days later, the club refunded the camp's fee without explanation, she said.

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission chairman Stephen Glassman said the body would investigate.


Disturbing

He said: "Allegedly, this group was denied the use of a pool based on their race. If the allegations prove to be true, this is illegal discrimination."

America's highest-profile black swimmer, Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, said "hearing about what's happened to these 65 kids is both disturbing and appalling".

Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, the governing body for the US swim team, said he was stunned.

He said: "This is the sort of thing you'd hear about in 1966, during the height of the civil rights movement, not in 2009, and not in the City of Brotherly Love, of all places."

In a statement on its website last night, the swimming club called the allegations of racial discrimination "completely untrue" and claimed overcrowding from more than one outside camp was the problem.

"We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds," it said.

"Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realised that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps."

The club said it "deplores discrimination".

"Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board," it said.

hnews@herald.ie

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Re: Black children turned away at private pool

Post  lubelle on Thu 16 Jul - 10:16

In my opinion every child regardless of colour ,race or class should be treated the same...with love and respect.

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