Last week, 60 black and Hispanic kids got kicked out of a private suburban Philadelphia pool for, you know, being black and Hispanic.
In an explanation meant to defend the club’s sudden cancellation of the camps fully paid dues to use the pool this summer, the president of the Valley Swim Club in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., John Duesler, issued a statement that said the kids “changed the complexion of the pool.”
Oh, in that case … wait, what?
The Creative Steps Day Camp had paid almost $2,000 to use the pool this summer. But when the kids showed up the first time and jumped in, witnesses say all the white kids got out. According to one parent, pool attendants came over to campers and told them minorities weren’t allowed in the club. They were ordered to leave before their swim time was finished.
Several of the kids said they overheard racist comments. From NBC Philadelphia:
“I heard this lady, she was like, ‘Uh, what are all these black kids doing here?’ She’s like, ‘I’m scared they might do something to my child,’” said camper Dymire Baylor.
Since the alleged incident, people have been protesting the Valley Swim Club and one mother filed a class action lawsuit. Her four children attend the camp and were at the pool that day.
Duesler, president of the board of directors, said the club wants to invite the kids back to swim and that the whole thing is one big misunderstanding. He has dropped his “complexion” talk and now says that there were simply too many kids for the size of the pool.
Several of the pool’s members who were there that day said the kids were well-behaved and that, while the pool was crowded, it wasn’t a problem.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Spector, the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Swim Team have all weighed in on the issue. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission has also opened an investigation.
Photo: NBC Philadelphia