Old Saybrook daycare center settles discrimination lawsuit

An Old Saybrook day care center has agreed to pay $7,341 to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought by the parents of an autistic toddler who had attended the school.

Ali and Josh Linkov, now of Livingston, New Jersey, had sued Beach Babies Learning Center LLC. of 210 Boston Post Road, alleging they terminated their 2-year-old son's enrollment because of his autism. The parents had brought their complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming their son was denied services equal to those offered to children without disabilities.

According to a settlement document provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, the child's pediatrician had confirmed he was healthy and could participate in programs at the center.

The daycare center denied it discriminated against the Linkovs and said it made reasonable efforts to accommodate the child's disabilities, but "that to comply with alleged continual requests for changes in the child's schedule/program constituted a fundamental alteration of the center's programs."

Messages left at the daycare center and the Linkov's home were not immediately returned this afternoon.

In reaching a settlement, the daycare center did not admit fault but agreed to implement non-discriminatory policies and procedures.

"Ensuring that children with disabilities, and their families, have equal access to early education and child care centers goes to the heart of the ADA's promises and protections," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division. "Beach Babies Learning Center cooperated with the department to address this matter through this agreement, and we hope that this agreement serves as a reminder to other education and child care providers about their responsibilities under the ADA."


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