Update: After considerable bad publicity, and pressure from the Pa Human Relations Commission and Sen. Arlen Specter, the Valley Swim Club no longer gives a shit about safety. Or something. They’re going to see about letting the kids, and their $2 grand, come back.
I just caught wind of this story, and I’m frakking stunned. Some kids from a day camp were booted from a private swim club. Here’s the setup:
“When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool,” Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. “The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately.”
The next day the club told the camp director that the camp’s membership was being suspended and their money would be refunded.
Here’s the really effed up part, the club’s statement:
“There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club,” John Duesler, President of The Valley Swim Club said in a statement.
OK, now cue Campbell Brown’s followup story:
The notion that this was some kind of safety situation doesn’t hold water, pardon the pun. All businesses, especially pools, are acutely aware of their capacity, and the size of their membership. Furthermore, in a cached page from the club’s website, they seem to acknowledge the grousing of their members:
The Valley Club is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of racism which are completely untrue.
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. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future.
Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form, as is evidenced by our multi-ethnic and diverse membership. Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board.
I’m going to read between the lines here, and cut the bullshit. I believe the camp counseler and the kid. I think the club president is a good guy who was made to be the asshole by the swim club board, who probably thought they were being clever with that goddam statement.
I also think, good guy or not, there’s no way around the fact that when he says it was a “misunderstanding,” John Duesler is calling that little kid a liar. Shame on him.