PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Federal prosecutors sued a suburban swimming club that made national news last June when it booted out 66 black and Latino kids whose club had paid $1,950 for use of the pool. Prosecutors said the Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley canceled the contract because most of the kids were black.
As the story became national news, much of the focus was on statements made by the club’s president, who said that the arrival of so many campers brought about a “change of complexion” at the swim club.
Philadelphia-based Creative Steps program and its day camp had entered into an 8-week contract for use of the facility, but when the campers arrived for their first visit, the swim club turned them away and unilaterally canceled the agreement. Valley Club officials claimed the decision to bar the children was not made on the basis of race, but because there were simply too many children for the number of available lifeguards, and that many of the day campers could not swim.
Creative Steps itself sued the Valley Club last year.
The Justice Department seeks an injunction ordering the Valley Club, or any successor club, from engaging in racial discrimination.