Family says local skating rink discriminated against son with disability

Family says local skating rink discriminated against son with disability

WHITMAN, Mass. — A local family says a skating rink discriminated against their son who is living with a disability.

Chayce Imperato is 9 years old and is in the 4th grade. He is also living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a condition the leads to progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.

On Monday night, Chayce was at a roller skating birthday party at the Carousel Family Fun Center in Whitman and wanted to hang out in the rink with his friends.

Content Continues Below

"I just wanted to be like other kids," said Chayce.

The problem is though, skates are too dangerous for people with Chayce's condition, so when he's come to the skating rink with his family in the past, he's been able to use a special walker that allows him to safely go on the rink while wearing sneakers.

When Chayce walked into the rink with sneakers on, his family claims an employee singled him out over the PA and told him to get off the rink without much explanation.

"They said you either throw him in skates or you bring something that has wheels on it and he can go on the rink and the only thing we have with wheels on it is his motorized wheelchair and he wasn't taking that as an option," said Brittany, Chayce's mom.

"It hurt my feelings a lot," said Chayce.

In a phone conversation with Boston 25 News, the attorney for the skating rink to us a different story.

"The parent was never told that the child needed to have roller skates on," said the attorney. "But it was offered as an alternative – a reasonable alternative – which consisted of two additional devices which are made to be used either as scooters or for sitting upon and the child could have fully participated.”

Chayce and his family, however, say a scooter was never offered to them. They also said a picture taken on Monday night shows other parents were wearing sneakers on the rink.

"At the end of the day he just wants to feel like a normal kid," said Donnie, Chayce's dad. "He wants to play with his friends, he wants to be out on the rink and for them to just say no and then to single him out and embarrass him, that wasn't right."

Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, a place that is open to the public must make reasonable accommodations to allow participation by individuals with disabilities, which is why Chayce's mother is now filing a complaint on the ADA website.