The Illinois High School Association has settled a lawsuit that will allow student athletes with disabilities to participate fully in some sports.
The suit was filed in 2012 by the Illinois Attorney General and a disabled student in Oak Park who wanted to compete on the high school swim team.
"It's about the realization that kids benefit when they participate on their high school teams," says Marty Hickman, IHSA Executive Director. "They learn more about team work, they learn more about hard work, they learn more about diversity."
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The settlement allows disabled students to compete in swimming and track and field, and requires them to maintain records for all disabled student athletes, same as they do for others.IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman says they were ready to do better than what the Americans with Disabilities Act requires.
"We had agreed to do that before any litigation began with the Illinois Attorney General," says Hickman. "If you look at what was in their complaint, I don't think it was consistent with what the law really is. Certainly, what was in their complaint is not what the settlement called out." In a statement, Attorney General Lisa Madigan calls the settlement an "important step forward" and should help more students be inspired to compete.