Policy discriminates against our children

Published 1:45 am Saturday, November 21, 2009

I recently visited the Adult Activity Center to drop a package off to my mother, who was using the facility to work out. As usual, I had my 2-year-old daughter with me. As we approached the door, I acknowledged a sign that read, “Center is for the use of adults age 21 years or older … unless enrolled in an instructional class.” I thought to myself that if I wasn’t going there to work out, there wouldn’t be a problem with having my daughter accompany me into the building. I quickly found out how wrong I was.

Once we reached the exercise room and delivered the package, I engaged in a conversation with my mother. Shortly after, an employee of the Center walked in and said, “You know she can’t be in here” (referring to my daughter). I responded, “Oh, I’m not working out. We just came to deliver something.” The employee said more sternly, “It doesn’t matter. She can’t even be standing there.” My mother apologized and we were on our way.

One may ask why I have a problem with what occurred. Now, I fully understand the importance of following rules and why some rules are set in place. I can also acknowledge the potential for harm if a child is left unattended in the exercise room around the machines and weights. However, my daughter never left my side the entire time. After all, I wasn’t there to utilize the facility. Thus, I feel that we were discriminated against. If she wasn’t allowed to stand in a room in this particular building, the sign on the door should have read, “No children allowed in the building.”

After this confrontation, I was told by the director that children are not allowed in the building due to a lack of insurance, and I should feel free to contact the mayor because it is a city rule.

She tried to explain to me that Johnson Park is a place for kids. My feelings on that comment are that I have never seen a sign posted at the gym at Johnson Park that reads, “No adults over the age of 21 are allowed to enter, unless accompanied by a child.”

In closing, it is my opinion that not allowing a child, accompanied by an adult, into any city building, is discrimination.

Shekelia Dorsey