PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A swimming club canceled its contract with a summer camp because it sent black and Hispanic children to the club pool, the families claim in a federal class action. The class claims The Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley canceled the club’s contract so it could bar the kids “because of nothing more than the complexion of their skin.”
Parents say The Valley Club had a contract with Creative Steps day camp to provide use of its swimming facilities for 60 kids on Monday afternoons in exchange for $1,950 paid by the day camp.
But when the children arrived on June 29, white club members made racially charged comments such as, “What are all these black kids doing here? They might do something to my child,” according to the complaint.
Then the white people allegedly pulled their children out of the pool. Only three club members let their kids remain while the day campers were in the pool, according to the complaint.
The Valley Club subsequently canceled its contract with Creative Steps and refunded the money, the class says.
When the story made news, club officials allegedly claimed that “there was a concern that a lot of kids would change the ‘complexion’ … and the ‘atmosphere’ of the club.” Then they allegedly changed the story, and said there were too many children in the pool and that they canceled the contract because the situation was unsafe, not for racial reasons.
The Associated Press reported that the club has offered to let the children return to the pool, but the families are pursuing the litigation. They demand punitive damages for civil rights violations. They are represented by David Mildenberg.