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City of Wilmington and the Darul Amaanah Academy Resolve Differences Regarding Pool Use and Clothing Policies

Post Date:01/23/2019 10:30 AM

Unclear swimming policies and lack of training fueled misunderstanding

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The City of Wilmington and Darul Amaanah Academy announced today that a settlement has been reached regarding a lawsuit filed by the Wilmington-based non-profit organization against the City. The settlement reflects months of collaborative discussion between the parties, undertaken with the mutual goal of creating a better City for all residents and visitors.

Darul Amaanah Academy and a group of Muslim families are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last August that alleged the City and certain employees denied children attending Darul Amaanah’s summer camp access to City-operated aquatics facilities and subjected them to discriminatory and harassing conduct. In the lawsuit, filed in Delaware Chancery Court and then moved to the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the Plaintiffs allege that these actions violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

Under the terms of the settlement announced today, the City does not admit any wrongdoing.  The City does, however, regret that unclear swimwear policies and the lack of specific training on such policies fueled a misunderstanding which left the Plaintiffs feeling excluded from a City pool. The City reaffirms its long-standing policy that all people are welcome at the City’s pools. The settlement ensures meaningful religious accommodations to those who use the City’s pools and, importantly, is an efficient resolution of the Plaintiffs’ claims thus avoiding unnecessary and more costly litigation. Under the terms of the settlement, the City is agreeing to: 

  • Issue revised regulations clarifying its dress code policy in City-operated aquatics facilities.  The revised regulations will expressly accommodate clothing worn for religious reasons and will ensure access for all patrons of the City’s pools regardless of religion. 
  • Display the new regulations at each of the City’s pools and to provide additional training to employees working at City-operated aquatics facilities, both to ensure that these employees are fully aware of the revised regulations and to ensure compliance with the City’s commitment to non-discrimination. 
  • Extend the length of the 2019 pool season through Labor Day.
  • Provide compensation to the Plaintiffs in the total amount of $50,000. 

Mayor Mike Purzycki and City Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Kelley said Wilmington is committed to ensuring the fair and equal treatment of all residents. Both parties agreed that today’s announced settlement helps to ensure that all residents of Wilmington are able to enjoy Wilmington’s aquatic facilities.

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