NEW ORLEANS — Catholic Church officials in New Orleans are accused in a class-action lawsuit of discriminating against children with disabilities.
WWL-TV reports that the lawsuit says the Archdiocese of New Orleans illegally asks questions about student’s disabilities on application forms and fails to make accommodations for students with physical or learning disabilities at its area schools.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Sarah McDonald declined to comment on pending litigation, but said, the archdiocese is committed to making Catholic education accessible to area families. The lawsuit filed by attorney Christopher Edmunds of Metairie seeks accommodations for students with disabilities.
Edmunds filed the suit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court this week. It claims the questions the Archdiocese and affiliated Catholic schools regularly ask violate Louisiana’s Civil Rights Act for Persons with Disabilities. The law prohibits educational institutions that receive state funds from using an “application for admission that elicits or attempts to elicit information … concerning the disability of an otherwise qualified applicant for discriminatory purposes.”
Edmunds filed a related suit against a Catholic school in 2020. It alleged that a girl with strong grades was discouraged from even applying after school leaders learned she had cerebral palsy, was wheelchair-bound, and would need an aide if she attended the school. The case was settled out of court.